Early on in training camp, most coaches are all about baby steps. You know, taking it one game at a time, just trying to get better each day, looking to get their rotation set for the upcoming season. Phil Jackson, however, is not most coaches.
Phil's already looking past training camp, past the All-Star break, and all the way through to the end of the regular season. That's where he's focusing his team's goal for this year, and it's quite a lofty one at that: to finish with the best record in the league, thereby securing home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
"It's a very difficult process, especially going through the teams we have to go through to get to the Finals here in the West. The idea that home-court advantage is an important aspect through the playoffs is something that lingers in our mind."
The Lakers did technically lose the championship in Boston when the Celtics won Game 6 on their home court. But for all intents and purposes, the team lost any chance they had to win the series when they allowed the Celtics to come back from 24 points down in the third quarter to take Game 4, in a game which, by the way, was played at Staples Center.
Phil put the team through the maximum number of two-a-day practices allowed by the league during training camp (six), in hopes of driving the point home that it's going to be hard work to get back to the Finals this year. With the Western Conference as loaded as ever, and the East fairly watered down, it's going to be a real challenge for the Lakers to finish with the best overall record. Maybe that's why Phil decided to focus his team's energy on that from the very beginning.