The Knicks are famously (and predictably) struggling in the team’s early days of learning the Triangle Offense, which was a system successfully run under Phil Jackson that resulted in 11 NBA titles during his days as a head coach.
In Jackson’s new role as president of basketball operations for the Knicks, he isn’t exactly in a jovial mood about the team’s early struggles — and he especially isn’t interested in hearing jabs from the league’s commissioner, no matter how innocuous those comments may seem on the surface.
Speaking at an NBA Cares event last week, Silver had this to say about the state of the Knicks (via the New York Daily News):
“I watched the Knicks game last night,” Silver said at a Nets community event on Thursday at a City Harvest Food Rescue facility in Long Island City. “Clearly, they’re still learning the triangle,” he said with a laugh. “I still don’t understand it. But they’re learning it. But that’s what the game is all about. You have a new coach, you have a new president of basketball operations in Phil Jackson; you have a couple new players on the team.”
Jackson spoke with reporters before the Knicks tipped off at home against the Hawks on Monday, and offered this response (via Steve Popper of NorthJersey.com):
Phil: It was fun to have Spike do the little piece, have a humorous part in it, but …
I wasn’t so humored by the commissioner actually jumping in on top of that, too. He doesn’t need to get in on that. …
Phil part 3: There’s enough focus on the triangle. It’s not anything. It’s a system. It’s simple basketball. Just play the game.
Jackson’s got a point, in that Silver probably shouldn’t be speaking in a joking manner about any one team’s lack of success. On the flip side, Silver’s remark could barely be considered negative, so Jackson should probably learn to have a thicker skin about things like this, and focus instead on the task at hand — which is wringing something positive out of this year’s undermanned roster.