Kurt Helin

Jeff Hornacek says triangle will be part of Knicks offense (VIDEO)

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You can expect some triangle — or, more accurately, a hybrid triangle offense — in Madison Square Garden this coming season.

At his press introductory press conference Friday, new Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said there will be triangle principles as part of his offense. You hear it in his own words above, here is a longer quote describing what he is thinking.

“There must be something about the word triangle. Maybe we’ll call it the circle offense. To me, it’s just a way to space the floor. When I was talking with Coach in L.A. and started looking at things that I would like to do out of the triangle offense, he goes, ‘Yeah, you can run whatever play you want out of the triangle offense.’

“In Utah when I played, we had the 1-4 set. It was just a way to space the floor. It’s the same reads, a lot of the same reads that we did then. In today’s game, with a lot of the pick-and-rolls, it’s just reading basketball. And so again, when I look at it, if you take the normal set-up of the team, most of the teams, you can watch Golden State, almost any team that runs pick-and-rolls, the spacing — if you just put, move one guy six feet to the side and one guy six feet down, you’re in the same exact alignment. It’s something that we can run a lot of plays out of. It’ll be a part of our offense. It’s something that has worked, it’s won championships.”

Hornacek is a good coach, one who deserves the chance to coach his way.

In Phoenix, with quality point guards at his disposal, Hornacek wanted to play fast. They were not “seven seconds or less” but they were not far off it. They were far off Phil Jackson’s triangle, at least as he ran it. The offensive system Tex Winter devised wanted teams to push the pace and had a lot of variety, Jackson’s teams didn’t explore all of that (nor did they need to in order to win).

Maybe Hornacek can spin what he installs as the triangle.

But the worst thing for the Knicks to do is start running some triangle hybrid.

 

NBC/PBT Podcast: How much trouble are Cavaliers in after Game 1 loss?

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 02:  Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts alongside teammate Kyrie Irving #2 in the second half while taking on the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 2, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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There were troubling signs for Cleveland Cavaliers fans in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Splash Brothers — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — combined for just 20 points on 27 shots, and the Golden State Warriors still won by 15. This isn’t Toronto where if you stop their guards their offense falls apart — the Warriors bench scored 45 led by Shaun Livingston‘s 20. The versatile Warriors exposed the Cavaliers’ matchup problems in this series.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBCSports.com break it all down from Oakland and look ahead to Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes, listen via the fantastic Stitcher app, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Report: Don’t be so sure Kevin Durant will sign a short-term deal, he likes stability

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Here is the conventional wisdom around the league on Kevin Durant‘s free agency this summer:

After a deep and impressive playoff run by the Thunder, he will re-sign with the Thunder on a two-year contract with an opt-out after one (a one-plus-one, what LeBron James signed last summer in Cleveland). He’ll do it for two reasons. One, he can make one more serious run at a title in Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, and the Thunder core. The second is financial: His base max salary this summer will be around $28 million per year, but because he will have been in the league 10 years and because of another salary cap spike, in 2017 that first-year base salary will be at least $37 million. That’s a lot of cash to leave on the table.

You can see the logic in why Durant does a one-plus-one.

But don’t bet on it, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

“He is not the kind of guy who wants to fiddle around in free agency and sort of play the system that way,” said one source who has worked with Durant. “That is not his personality. He likes stability and it is kind of a gamble to be taking a short contract and then trying to come back and do it all over again in a year. That’s the other thing. He is not someone who wants to go through this twice, I really don’t think. It’s no sure thing.”

That’s a common theme around the league, the notion that Durant wants to make a decision now, ensure his security and not have to worry about being a free agent again until he is in his 30s. During the Thunder’s end-of-season media session, Durant told reporters he has no interest in a high-profile free agency tour: “That’s not who I am. I’m not that type of person.”

Last summer a number of players — Kevin Love was the most prominent name — took the security of longer deals rather than chasing future money with shorter deals. There’s a risk of injury, and in the case of 2017 there also could be a lockout that will alter the economic landscape for players. For Durant, a five-year deal to stay in Oklahoma City would mean more than $150 million guaranteed.

Durant needs to sit down with Russell Westbrook and have a talk. If they both stay in Oklahoma City, that team will contend for years (even if players such as Ibaka or Dion Waiters are lost through free agency). But does Westbrook, who is a 2017 free agent, want to stay? If he’s leaving, does Durant want to stay? There are no simple answers.

I’d still bet on Durant taking the one-plus-one deal. But it’s far from a sure thing.

Adam Silver wants to see changes to flailing, Hack-a-Shaq rules; defends Two Minute Reports

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 02:  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media before Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 2, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in the best of seven series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants to see improvement in the NBA’s officiating.

Just probably not the changes many of you want to see.

Thursday night he defended the NBA’s officiating, the Two Minute Reports, and said he still hopes to push through a change to end Hack-a-Shaq.

“I’d say largely what these Last Two-Minute Reports are showing is that the referees get it right about 90 percent of the time,” Silver said in a press conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals tipped off from Oracle. “Now, from a fan standpoint, the other side of the coin is so, in other words, they’re getting it wrong one out of 10 calls? And I accept that.

“So to your ultimate question, how do I feel about the officiating? My feeling is I’d like that to be 100%. I’d love to get zero errors. I don’t think we’re ever going to be there.”

Because it’s never going to be there so long as humans are involved — and fans of opposing teams are always going to see close calls differently — what Silver continues to preach is transparency.

“We’re in the second year of our Last Two-Minute Reports, and I still remain strongly behind them,” Silver said. “Now, I understand the criticism from some of the teams that, ‘What’s the point? Why are you telling the world that this call was decided incorrectly? May have gone in our favor, may not have. Nothing can be done about it after the fact.’

“My view, first of all, in terms of building confidence in the public, they want to see consistency. So they want to understand if we call something a foul, why we called it a foul, and we often give explanations for why we believe something was a foul, whether it was correctly called or incorrectly called. So it’s our hope that you take the Last Two-Minute Reports together with using a certain amount of replay that we’re building to build trust and integrity in the league.”

How much trust the league can build in a social media world is up for debate. Silver, as is his nature, is open to discussing just about anything.

“I had a team come in the other day and say we should look at a fourth official,” Silver said. “And that goes to the core of your question. Maybe the game is so fundamentally different now that we maybe do need to look at a fourth official. So that’s something maybe through our Development League or Summer Leagues that we’ll take a fresh look at.”

That the league is talking about these things now — and putting out the officiating reports — is an improvement over the Soviet-style denial and lack of information that had been the NBA’s modus operandi for many years. More information is a good thing, even if reasonable people can disagree about how a call was seen.

Silver wants to see some officiating and rule changes. That starts with hack-a-Shaq.

“I think you all know it is my hope that we are not far away from some reform,” Silver said. “This is an issue where I’m hoping we can strike some sort of a compromise. I mean, there is no doubt that there are particular teams, particular owners who have spoken out against any change whatsoever. And I also recognize from a competitive standpoint that largely three teams will be the beneficiary of a rule change. There’s three players in particular, and everyone knows who I’m talking about, and whatever team they’re on, if they’re going to play a lot of minutes and they’re poor free throw shooters, the ability to hack them away from the ball creates an advantage for the other team….

“What we’ve seen even since last year is a two and a half times increase off last year of the number of these off-ball fouls, away-from-the-ball fouls, intentional fouls. Looking back just even at the last five years, it’s now up 16 times from five years ago.”

It has become a common strategy, and it is something both fans and the NBA’s broadcasters do not like or want. You know, the broadcasters about to start paying a lot more money for the rights to show NBA games.

“I’ve said it before, for example, when Hack-a-Shaq has done something like more than roughly ten times a game, it adds about 15 minutes to the length of the game,” Silver said. “Not only is that something that is bad for our network partners, but for all of the fan research we have shows that the fans hate it. You know, so there may be a compromise in there where we can cut it down significantly.”

The other officiating change will be a new enforcement on flailing, something that has become a hot topic in the playoffs ever since Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the nether regions in the Western Conference Finals.

“So in terms of the flailing, and we’re seeing a lot more late kicks and, frankly, players flailing their arms as well, it’s clear what they’re doing. They’re trying to sell calls. They’re trying to make contact,” Silver said. “They’re trying to demonstrate that they’re getting fouled on particular plays. It’s not something new in the league, but as we track it, it’s becoming more prevalent….

“It’s not something we want to see. In terms of flagrant fouls and potential suspensions, one of the things we look at is the intent of the players. Obviously it’s very difficult to discern intent. We want to find a way to discourage players from flailing….

“We’ve been talking about it throughout the season. Obviously (there is) a very controversial play that you just mentioned, and it’s on the agenda for the Competition Committee when we meet this summer.”

The competition committee is going to be very busy this summer.

Watch Matthew Dellavedova hit Andre Iguodala in the, er, groin

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It wasn’t Draymond Green in the middle of this conversation for a change. Although he had his own controversy (we’ll get to that in another post).

But we shouldn’t be surprised it was the Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova.

Late in the third quarter Andre Iguodala was bringing the ball up in transition when  Dellavedova hit him square in the, er, groin. considering how far he was away from connecting it’s hard to say he was making a play on the basketball, but the refs let this go with a common foul.

It’s what we’ve come to expect from Delly, the play was at least reckless — or you can call it dirty, if you want.

Either way, Iguodala hit a three after play resumed and the Warriors soon started a 15-0 run that decided the game.