I know he's widely regarded as a brilliant mind with a talent for dealing with competing egos on a team and making it work.
He's still a jerk.
While most of the Western Conference playoff picture is still flexible, the 1 vs. 8 matchup was decided a couple days ago when the Thunder lost to the Blazers two days ago. The defending NBA champion Lakers will face these (extremely) young Thunder in the first round.
Even before the regular season has ended, Jackson is working his infamous "influence the refs through snide interview comments" strategy, which apparently has worked in the past, so why should he stop now?
Because it's ridiculous, that's why.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Jackson began this campaign yesterday, saying, "Yeah, by the calls [Kevin Durant] gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I'll tell ya. There's a couple plays in the last game where I was pretty curious how he got there."
Now look, it's apparent that Kevin Durant is earning superstar status in the eyes of the referees. This is a status where certain players are benefited from the referees giving them virtually every call, and especially in situations late in games. LeBron James has this status. Dwyane Wade certainly has this status. And Kobe Bryant has had this status for over a decade.
And who does Kobe play for? The Lakers. Come on, Phil, are you really so petty that you'd point out a certain player is benefited by NBA officiating when you have one of the league's favorite sons headlining your team?
Apparently he is.
Now, I know Durant has surpassed Bryant in "players I'd like on my team" for every coach in the league, but there's no need to resort to this type of pathetic complaining, Phil! You still have Pau Gasol, who brings a double-double every night, great defense and percentages that are through-the-roof impressive (Gasol obtained by trading Kwame Brown and a couple draft picks)! You still have Lamar Odom! You still (probably) have Andrew Bynum!
Sure, your guards are all pretty terrible, but I'm sure Derek Fisher will turn into Playoff Derek Fisher a few times if you need him to.
But you won't, will you? This Thunder team is just too inexperienced, too young and too small-market to get it done vs. the gorilla that is the Lakers. Durant will get his rings, but the first one won't be this year.
So lay off the kid, will you? He's been nothing but class his entire NBA career thus far... don't try to drag him down into the mud with you.