Phil Jackson,who didn’t like NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledging that the Knicks have yet to master the triangle offense, knows his team has yet to master the triangle offense.
New York ranks 21st in offensive rating, down from 11th last season and third the year before.
The Knicks president isn’t giving his players long to catch up.
Jackson, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
We think in terms of basketball-wise, Thanksgiving, December, it’s time to really say, ‘If you haven’t gotten it by now, maybe we’ll have to think of you as a learner or not a learner as a ballplayer at that time.’
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If Jackson is trying to motivate the team, OK. He has proven himself a master motivator, and this might be the right button to push.
But December isn’t long enough to truly evaluate whether players can pick up a new scheme, especially one as different as the triangle.
Jackson knows his players, and he should know who has the potential to fit. Just because someone who seems to possess the potential to fit hasn’t completely clicked by December doesn’t mean he won’t. The standard – if Jackson is actually imposing one rather than just motivating – should be about progress, not having “gotten it by now.”
For one player, though, Jackson probably needn’t wait another couple weeks. J.R. Smith doesn’t get it and probably never will.