The Zen Master Returns to Tinsel Town

After kicking off the NBA season on a winning note, the Zen Master's return to the Lakers looks good. Perhaps, it was Jackson's Zen-like power that propelled Kobe Bryant to a huge game, including a last second game-winning shot in OT against the Nuggets. Or maybe the Kobe/Phil antics are behind each of them and, they are ready to return to their winning ways.

Phil Jackson, despite nine championships (6 with Chicago, 3 with L.A.), returns to try for a record tenth after seemingly being content with walking away from the game.

But if he's looking for another ring any time soon, L.A. doesn't appear to be the place. Even with players like Lamar Odom and Devin George, the Lakers don't have enough fire power to compete with the San Antonio's and Phoenix's in the West, or even the Houston's and Dallas', and?the list continues. Chris Mihm won't be able to contend with the NBA's elite big men night in and night out, and the Lakers will likely be competing once again this season for one of the last two playoff slots, and Phil Jackson realizes this.So did he return just to coach the closest thing to Jordan whom he called uncoachable in his eyebrow raising book? This might be the best reasoning out there.

But his return to L.A. also has to do with coming back to a team that, for the most part, already knows his triangle offense, besides boasting the best all-around player in the game. He has proven himself to have confidence in Kobe's ability to take a team on his shoulders, and often times will just let Kobe be Kobe at the ends of quarters and down the stretch in close games.

The success of the Lakers this season will tell how big of an asset it is to have Phil Jackson sitting behind your bench. As for now, I'm not sure how much it will matter. Michael Jordan was graced with another hall-of-famer Scottie Pippen to help him run the show.

And Horace Grant rattled off consistent double-doubles on top of that. The Lakers of a few years ago, were of course led by Kobe and Shaq, but also relied on Derek Fisher and Robert Horry for big production. Lamar Odom is very talented but is no Scottie Pippen, especially on the defensive end, and Devin George will need to be a much more consistent player than he was during the Lakers' championship run.So it is still yet to be determined how Kobe will fare without the Diesel in the middle. Last season's struggles were an indication, but I'll give Kobe another shot again this year with Phil back in his corner. If there relationship doesn't sour once again, which it has no reason to with Kobe being the main man, the Lakers should improve upon last season's disappointment and make the playoffs.

But I think it will become apparent to all that Shaq is the missing link in L.A.

.Jimmy Boyd is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League.

Read all of his articles at http://www.procappers.com/Jimmy_Boyd.htm.

By: Jimmy Boyd


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