Chicago Bulls: The Last Dance shows Phil Jackson’s impact on depth

Chicago Bulls (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls had a big impact made on them by Phil Jackson. He did something that was pivotal in them getting over the hump.

Anybody can be a superstar in the regular season if they have the talent. That is what it looked like what happening with Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan in the 1980s. He was winning scoring titles and individual accolades but the success wasn’t really coming in the postseason. In order to mold himself into a guy who can get it done in the playoffs, he needed some help.

Of course, help came along the way down the road in the form of players like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, John Paxson, Horace Grant, etc, but it wasn’t until Phil Jackson showed up that Michael really clicked in the playoffs. Phil had philosophies that helped Jordan do what he needs to do in order to move along in the playoffs. Championships are how basketball players are remembered and the Jackson/Jordan duo combined to win six of them.

In order for superstars to reach their true potential, they need to be able to make others around them better. They can be great on their own by doing things for themselves but making their teammates better is something that is very difficult. “The Last Dance” showed that Phil Jackson’s goal upon his arrival in Chicago was he wanted to make Michael learn to make others better.

Instead of trying to score the most points, they worked on ways that Jordan can help setting up his teammates as well. Phil Jackson made it clear to his team that defense follows the ball. If Jordan didn’t have the ball for the entire possession, something like “The Jordan Rules” wouldn’t be an effective defensive strategy for a team like the Detroit Pistons.

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Jackson implemented the strategy known as “The triangle”. It is an offensive way of attacking that allows the five men on the court to make passes to one another. Instead of everything ultimately leading to Jordan taking the shot, the triangle allowed Jordan to still get his shots while also allowing his teammates to be more involved. It allowed Scottie Pippen to develop into a top-five player. It also allowed guys like Paxson to hit shots that Jordan set him up for. Phil’s impact on the team’s depth is what led to them being such a great team for a long time.