Former Lakers coach, team president and Hall of Fame player Jerry West spoke at the annual Orange County Automobile Dealers Association luncheon at the Irvine Marriott on Friday–and unloaded on his former squad.
“I don't think the Lakers will be good for much
longer,” West predicted. “You can keep a car running for a long time by changing the
tires, etc. But you can't change a player's tires.”
He complained the Lakers are “getting long in the tooth,” that they aren't going after as many loose balls as they once did, that they can't play defense because they can't.
And the legendary shooting guard capped off his rough talk by shooting Lakers fans right in the heart, praising the hated Boston Celtics and predicting they will win the next NBA title (despite, uh, being older than the Lakers, Jer).
“I think Boston is a very dangerous team,” West said. “I would not
want to play them every other night.”
One might imagine the current Lakers coach would not take kindly to former coach West's views. But Phil Jackson “didn't protest one bit” when Elliott Teaford asked
about the comments Sunday. Former Los Angeles Times scribe Teaford now bangs the keyboard for the Torrance Daily Breeze and that group that owns every newspaper that is not the Times or Orange County Register (yet).
“He's right, we have to do a lot of things
right to be able to play defense the way we want to,” Jackson said. “Most of it is about controlling the tempo of the game.
There's something about speed, just outright speed. We're not the
fastest team on the boards here in the NBA. We can do it (play sound
defense) if we control things the right way.”
Jackson, of course, is known for saying things in the press that get under the skin of players and, hopefully, motivate them to greatness.
Guess he should thank West for the assist.