When Phil Jackson was hired as president of basketball operations by the Knicks last summer, he seemed intent on making sure that the foundation for the team’s future would include the installation of the Triangle Offense.
That system isn’t point-guard dependent, and uses a series of motion and cuts that theoretically provides an equal opportunity for all players on the floor to score under various circumstances. And of course, it’s the one Jackson used for every one of his 11 championship seasons he went through when coaching the Bulls and the Lakers.
The initial push to hire Steve Kerr was based on this, as was the decision to give Derek Fisher a shot as a first-year head coach. Jackson also hired Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons to assist Fisher, who had both been assistants under Jackson in the past.
Jackson has also said that he would use this season as an audition of sorts, to see which players might be best-suited to fit the triangle offense and be a part of the team’s future.
But speaking at a town hall chat with season ticket holders on Thursday, Jackson seemed ready (or at least willing) to move past it.
Phil now says “Forget about the triangle.” Well, you brought it up Ad nauseam when u were hired & Jim Dolan had Spike make a movie about it.
So the spin of last season “triangle or bust” is wisely being thrown away. A 14-61 record will do that.
Last year, they sold us on the system. Now, they’re selling us that it’s about the players. Duh. This is actually a sign of progress.
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to an offensive system, and Jackson has obviously had unprecedented success with the one he’s chosen.
But the Knicks are at such a low point from a talent perspective that they can’t afford to choose players, either through the draft or free agency, simply based on whether or not they’d be a fit in the triangle offense.
New York will likely still run portions of it; that’s what the coaching staff has been assembled to do. But the fact that Jackson may be softening his stance, at least publicly, should indeed be seen as a positive sign.