Phil Jackson has become the crotchety old man who yearns for the days of NBA yore. After watching the 2015 NBA Finals he had some choice words for LeBron James and possibly basketball in general, as told to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:
"When I watch some of these playoff games, and I look at what's being run out there, as what people call an offense, it's really quite remarkable to see how far our game has fallen from a team game," Jackson said. "Four guys stand around watching one guy dribble a basketball."
The lack of structure extends even to the basic tenets of the game, Jackson said.
"I watch LeBron James, for example," he said. "He might [travel] every other time he catches the basketball if he's off the ball. He catches the ball, moves both his feet. You see it happen all the time. There's no structure, there's no discipline, there's no 'How do we play this game' type of attitude. And it goes all the way through the game. To the point where now guys don't screen—they push guys off with their hands."
Jackson believes LeBron James doesn't play with the sense of fluidity he feels best serves the NBA. He concluded: "It struck me: How can we get so far away from the real truth of what we're trying to do? And if you give people structure, just like a jazz musician—he's gotta learn melody, and he's gotta learn the basic parts of music—and then he can learn how to improvise. And that's basically what team play is all about."
I'm sure Phil makes valid points here, but it's funny that a guy who coached Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant dares to utter remarks about "how far our game has fallen from a team game." I mean, Phil, do you not see how you might have played some kind of role in this evolution? And I'm not going to even mention Carmelo Anthony.
Work on that triangle, Phil. Let LeBron worry about himself.