home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 11, 2004

Phil Jackson


Q. Old, great Zen master, all of the tactics that you use to get guys up, is anger one of them? Is this a time for this team to be mad as hell?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, I think determination has got to be a level in there -- a read that you have to solicit as a coach that they are determined. I don't think mad is particularly the right, or anger is the right way to go. I think we're a little unhappy as a basketball team. You know, we've allowed the first game -- I talked about the Pistons playing their type of game, and we've allowed this to happen for three games consistently and without enforcing our will upon the games. We had a couple quarters in the second game where we played our type of ball and played it well, and it was enough to give us some momentum to win that ballgame, probably, in the ultimate end. But last night, I don't think there was more in the period of two or three minutes at any one time in quarters, a feature that helped us win those or have any influence on the quarters. And from that standpoint, you know, we have to start exerting our will, and to do that, requires a certain sense of determination that we have to possess. In our determination, we have to make the stand, and, you know, in that process, I'm going to have to make a stand with officials and we have to be able to play defense the way they play defense. If we want to play defense, we have to be able to play it the way they are playing defense, in the bodies, up against arms, contesting shots, and not getting caught for the foul. If we attempt to play this type of defense, it's ridiculous, the foul calls that are -- the disparity in this. And they are the people that are putting bodies against bodies. Granted we have the more muscular, more physical-size bodies, but still it is not that big of a discrepancy that it should create this disparity in shooting and fouls.

Q. How would you rate Shaquille for jumping out on pick-and-roll, and is that in general what you guys are going to do with Billups?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Chauncey has been dicey, at best. We've got underneath and he's been content to run the offense. He's picked parts of the game. In last night's game in the third quarter where we went underneath and he stepped back for two 3-pointers. Gary got a little confused then, went over the top and he got a three-point play on the layup, which got us in a position where we're trying to determine what is the plan of attack here. Are we going to go underneath and contest penetration, and contest his ability to play-make, or are we going to play him as a scorer and chase him over the top and allow him opportunities to create off the dribble or penetration. You know, that's the determination. Right now, Karl is concerned about his mobility. We are more concerned about Karl's, too, than we are about Shaq's on the screen, because Shaq can play a plug kind of situation where he backs off, still contests the guy and we can chase, or follow the ballplayer into the lane and run him into Shaquille. But we are not so adamant about Shaq jumping out 25 feet from the hoop, contesting guards, and then not being capable of rebounding, because rebounding seems to be one of our problems and that's one of the areas that we are going to have to convert and make him stay inside and cover those screen rolls. We have a way to do it, by the way. We are not that concerned.

Q. Late in the game you had Kobe Bryant guarding Chauncey up the court, I was wondering, is that something you would be willing to do for longer stretches just to kind of cut their offense out before it can get started?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: We've actually tried to do that at various times in Game 2 and this past game, certainly. We think that run-jump is a viable type of defense for us, and Kobe on Chauncey is definitely a plan. We had a pressure defensive group out there with Kobe putting pressure on the ball. You know, he got into it and got caught for a foul or two, but at least we wanted to get some pressure on him. He's got the physical size to do that.

Q. Through three games, there's been some alarming discrepancies in some of the numbers for you guys: 3-point shooting, lack of getting to the free throw line, offensive rebounds, to name a few. How much of that is Detroit riding you guys off of what you guys want to do offensively, or is it more you guys not just being able to get into it and into a rhythm?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: You know, I think that games are dictated a lot of times by the tempo of how the games are played or how they set up. Last night, in all four quarters, we were in foul jeopardy within the first three minutes of the quarter, multiple fouls called on early situational plays in every quarter where we have to start backing off because we are in a foul situation. As a consequence, our defense has to be soft. They are shooting more free throws. Whenever your team shoots more free throws, you have to take the ball out of bounds, you have to generate your offense, you have to be more specific offensively than you have if you have opportunities to push the ball up the court in a free ball-type play. Those are the things that you are creating that dictates the Pistons are having on this series. We need to make a forceful change in this and we have a couple of ways that we want to get this accomplished.

Q. Do you think sooner or later teams need the qualities that superstars bring in order to win a championship? And if you could describe the challenge of coaching superstars?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Oh, well, we have (looking at watch) just a short amount of time to go over that. I think I should write a book about that or something. That's something that we could really -- (laughter). In most instances it's my belief that games break down into situations where, yes, there's the need for a player that has capabilities of doing extraordinary things in a ballgame to create wins. You know, this is one of the areas I've been fortunate to coach players that have had that ability. There's a very fine line. It's a very fine line. We've made an All-Star out of Chauncey Billups so far. I don't know if he's ever been an All-Star or not before. I don't think so. But this particular series, we have. Rip Hamilton is becoming fast -- improving his reputation as a player, due to these playoffs, not just our play. But those are the things that define how superstars get to have notoriety and get acclaim. The process is beginning for some of these Detroit Piston players. We never thought that Tayshaun Prince was notably a defensive stopper, but all of a sudden, he is, and his reputation, obviously, has been established because he's on top of Kobe playing him very, very well. That's how things generate to become superstars. And you guys have a process of doing it. One of the things that's kind of interesting, a stat came out in the game the other night that Kobe was 4-for-28 in three-point shooting. People hear that statistic in -- in the fourth quarter should I state that -- in fourth quarter of Finals, people hear that and say, well, it sounds like he's incredible, seems like he's knocking down three-point shots at the end of the game, but that's perception. That's what every superstar gets, perception of invincibility. When you're a coach, you have to allow them to understand that that perception is part of their persona, and they are still a player that has to do the things that are correct in basketball to win at this level. Because if you don't, the little things slip, you know, the things that make a player great, doing all of the tasks, boxing out, moving the basketball, playing inside a team offense, playing defense the correct way. You know, moving the ball if you're double-teamed, all of those things still have to be performed if you're going to be a superstar. You're not going to get all of the calls and the game is not going to always go your way. That's the difficulty of coaching superstars. Once they have been given, the credibility becomes theirs due to the press and the way that things happen for them in the course of games due to high-pressure, high-visibility series like this, they have to understand that there's still a fine line that they have to walk. As a coach, you have to be able to exact that. I would hate to name names, I can give initials, though. (Laughter).

Q. To follow-up on that, the history, the formula in the League, the NBA has always been, you need to have these kind of superstars to make this kind of play at the end of the game and whatever to win a championship. Have things changed? Obviously the series is far from over, but have things changed in the League that perhaps you don't need that player as desperately anymore to have success?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, the league tries to build superstars. I mean, what we have is a league that, you know, we are trying to make product players out here in this league to generate the kind of adulation that we want to have from fans and from television and from product sales and all of those other things. That's what does it. The success, I think follows one another, it's like the egg and the chicken a lot of times. I think the players rise to that occasion. We have certain players that have risen to that occasion in our history in this league. You know, obvious guys that deserve credit like Bill Russell and Magic and Larry Bird and Walt Frazier, players that I -- from my era and players that I've watched from past years, Michael Jordan, players like that, do establish that. There have always been teams in the past, Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, '75, '76 Portland Trail Blazers that have been able to play team basketball and overcome the odds of maybe a superstar-laden team like the 76ers were in that day and age to win championships. There's always that possibility and it's a wonderful one that is presented.

Q. Shaq, after the game last night, seemed to be lobbying for Bryon Russell to be playing. Do you have any thoughts about changing lineups or different personnel?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, we are using different people as the series goes along. We are going to try to find players that are effective. You know, I hope I find a way that Bryon Russell can be effective in this series. I hope that all of my players have an opportunity to do well. I've always coached that way and think that it's important. But there's a pecking order of how we come out and try that, and there are still other players that I'd like to see have opportunities; Rick Fox, for example, has not had an opportunity in this year's Finals at this level to make an impact on the game, and he has the ability to do that. There are other players, too, that I consider and I am considering.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297