- (Photograph: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Phil Jackson, the former Los Angeles Lakers head coach who holds 11 championship titles, recently shared his thoughts about the new big man on his old team, Dwight Howard.
Although Jackson has not coached in the NBA for two seasons, he recently spoke to Sports Illustrated about keeping up with what's taking place with a few teams in the league including the Los Angeles Lakers. When the publication asked Jackson about his thoughts on his former team, he was vocal about Howard not being utilized properly.
"They just don't put the ball in the post. They'll use a screen-roll to get the guy in the post. But there's no consistent plan to do it," Jackson told Sports Illustrated. "Yes, Kobe will go in there. But Dwight [Howard] just doesn't get any touches. They've basically eliminated his assets."
The former Lakers coach said he did not believe that Howard's teammates and coach have confidence in the 27-year-old center and explained why.
"He's starting to come around, but he has a massive upper body to carry around. He's a terrific athlete, but he still has to get all that back. He's looking better all the time, but his problem right now is turnovers," Jackson explained. "He's got to have a little better recognition, and that will help him gain the confidence of his teammates and coach, which he does not have now."
Although Howard has gained criticism for his inability to mesh with the Lakers during the season, Jackson said the big man can one day be as successful as 4-time NBA champion and former Los Angeles center Shaquille O'Neal.
"I think he can be. But he is not where he needs to be physically because of the back surgery," Jackson said. "He needs a year to recover from something like that."
While the Lakers have no guarantee that they will make it into the 2013 NBA playoffs as the number nine spot in the Western conference, Howard recently showed improvement with a 24-point, 12-rebound game against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night.
Mitch Kupchak, Lakers general manager, has been vocal about his belief in Howard recently.
"It's hard to get a talent in this league and to have a talent like Dwight Howard," Kupchak said Wednesday on ESPN Radio's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd." "He belongs to have his name on the wall and a statue in front of Staples [Center] at some point and time."