When Phil Jackson was hired to serve as president of basketball operations for the Knicks, it was somewhat expected that he would bring with him the Triangle Offense, which was a key component (along with Hall 0f Fame talents like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant) of his 11 championship seasons as an NBA head coach.
Once he hired a coaching staff that included Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons — all of whom are well-versed in either playing in or teaching the offense — those suspicions were immediately confirmed.
The majority of a team’s fans don’t delve too deeply into Xs and Os, though as those who closely watched Jackson’s Lakers teams win championships in three straight seasons from 2000-02 can attest, the Triangle becomes extremely familiar once you see it executed time and again to perfection.
Spike Lee, known as a filmmaker but perhaps even better-known as a Knicks fan in recent years, hopes to give his favorite team’s observers a jump strat in learning the offense that will be run by New York during the upcoming season.
Enter Spike Lee, the filmmaker and unabashed Knicks fan, who is making an hour-long film in an effort to demystify Jackson’s offensive system. He is calling it “What Is the Triangle Offense: A Spike Lee Orange and Blue Skies Joint.” It is set to air Oct. 24 on MSG.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Lee said. “This is trying to explain to the average fan the triangle system. It’s sort of like the mysterious mythology and Zen that Phil Jackson has used to win six times in Chicago and five times in L.A.” …
“Everybody says a junior high-school team can run it,” Lee said. “Proponents of the triangle offense say it’s simple. If you’re not a proponent, you don’t know what’s happening.”
The offense is one of equal opportunity, in that if run correctly, the motion of the players and the ball continues until an open shot is created. It doesn’t force the ball to the team’s best scorer necessarily, but rather gives everyone multiple options as players cut to their spots.
The film will undoubtedly be of interest to basketball fans, though there will need to be more than just diagrams of plays to attract a broader audience.