Phil Jackson Chimes In On Shaquille O’Neal-Dwight Howard Rift

Retired championship coach Phil Jackson chimed in on the Shaquille O’Neal-Dwight Howard spat, saying “there’s a lot to what (O’Neal) says.

O’Neal classified Howard as the third best center in the NBA, behind Andrew Bynum and Book Lopez, saying they are “true” centers and that Howard is a “pick-and-roll” center.

Jackson seemed to agree with at least some of O’Neal’s assertions. But on ESPN 1000 Chicago radio, Jackson said Howard is as a better all-around player and complemented him on the improvements he’s made to his offensive game in recent years. But he added that Howard is still “learning the post game.”

“Brook and Andrew are guys who have good touches. They’re good scoring players and they have good offensive games,” Jackson said.

“Dwight is a guy that has that amazing athletic ability but the overall game — rebounding, defending, blocking shots, running the court — this is a guy that runs with the wolves, so to speak. He can get up and down that court as quick as any of the guards and forwards because of his athletic ability.

“Dwight’s learning the post game and I think he has improved over the last couple years with his left hand. It looks like he’s shooting the ball a lot better. He used to be a guy that you felt like you had to keep out of the lane. If you could do that, he was going to be limited in his scoring. Now he’s developing some of the offensive game.”

O’Neal had said, “We as players, we always watch people before us. When I came in, it was Patrick Ewing and  Hakeem Olajuwon, guys who played like true centers who played inside. What we have now are centers that are going to the European style, which is a lot of pick-and-roll. Dwight Howard, who’s a pick-and-roll player, some people say he’s the best center in the league, but me being an old-school center, I’m going to go with (Brook) Lopez and Andrew Bynum because they play with their back to the basket.”

Howard responded by saying O’Neal’s time “was over” and that he needed to “move on.”

Surely, there is more to come.

Back to top