Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher are bringing the triangle to New York.
J.R. Smith is about the least triangle-style player in the league. Throw in Smith’s antics — untying players shoes during free throws was a fun one last year — and he seems a square peg for Jackson’s Zen triangle holes.
In a Q&A recently with the New York Post Jackson made this comparison with Smith.
“I don’t know if (getting through to him is) possible or not. He might be one of those guys that’s a little bit like Dennis Rodman that has an outlier kind of side to him. But I’m gonna get to know him as we go along, and we’ll find a way to either make him a very useful player on our organization, or whatever.”
How did Smith like being compared to Rodman? Loved it, of course. He said so Wednesday at training camp, as reported by the New York Daily News.
“Last time I checked Dennis Rodman’s got what three, four rings?” Smith said Tuesday about the Worm, who actually won five NBA titles with the Pistons and Jackson’s Bulls during his career. “I’m not offended by that. It’s an honor. He’s a Hall of Famer. And to be put in the same words as a Hall of Famer is something special. So I’m not offended at all.”
Well, that’s one way to spin it.
Another is that Rodman won those rings with the Bulls for a reason (and not just the Jordan reason).
Rodman fit in the triangle because of his energy on the glass and how he moved off the ball (people tend to forget just how athletic Rodman was). Plus Rodman was a lockdown defender. Smith has some work to do on those counts, plus he can be a ball stopper on offense (Rodman rarely saw the ball on offense).
Smith is under contract for this season plus has a player option for $6.4 million next season (one he likely picks up). If Smith can’t fit into the triangle, that’s a moveable deal. There are going to be a lot of Knicks roster shakeups over the next couple years.
But Fisher will get a chance to fit Smith into the system first and see if he has a little Rodman in him. The good parts of Rodman, anyway.