Phil Jackson Questions Lakers' Work Ethic

Phil Jackson has frequently used the media to chide members of his teams for one thing or another, and Tuesday before the Lakers faced the Sacramento Kings, he took that opportunity yet again.

Jackson was still frustrated over his team's latest fourth quarter collapse, where they gave back almost all of a 21-point lead against the Clippers. He said that the team isn't working hard enough, and mentioned Kobe Bryant specifically in his comments.

"My issue with the players and the team is they're not working hard enough. They're saving steps," Jackson said. "When you do that, you try to get by without having to exert yourself enough to win games the right way. Kobe's one of those people that was doing that.

"Some of it is measuring out what it's going to take to win a ballgame, and I understand that. This is a veteran who's been through a lot of seasons. We just have to shorten his minutes to keep his legs lively."

Kobe Bryant has heard things like this a million times from Jackson, so it's unlikely that he would have any reaction to the comments beyond a sarcastic roll of the eyes.

Shouldn't Jackson want Kobe to save a little exertion for when it really counts? Like during the playoffs, maybe?

Sure, the Lakers are a half-game behind the Cavaliers for the league's best record, but a quick look at the two teams' remaining schedules will tell you that it's unlikely L.A. can pass them. And leading the Western Conference standings by more games than there are remaining in the season, there's not much left to play for other than fine tuning some things before the playoff run begins next week.

Jackson says a lot of things to the media to try to get certain reactions out of certain players. This time, however, his comments seem to be way off base.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us