Report: Phil Jackson told Jeff Hornacek he won’t have to run triangle offense

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Knicks president Phil Jackson indicated his desire for the Knicks to hire a coach who runs the triangle offense. Jackson even held a camp last month for Knicks players on the triangle offense.

Now, New York is hiring Jeff Hornacek, who didn’t run the triangle while coaching the Suns.

Is Hornacek changing his scheme, or did Jackson relent?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

An NBA source said Jackson has told Hornacek the full-blown triangle offense is optional with the Knicks, and there’s a chance it is blended with Hornacek’s ideals.

Smart move – if Jackson sticks to it. There is no way the Knicks could’ve turned a good hire into a bad one more quickly than forcing Hornacek to use a system he doesn’t know.

Hornacek can surely bend. He succeeded with the Suns coaching two point guards, because Phoenix had two good point guards. The Knicks don’t have one.

But many of the up-tempo and spread elements of Hornacek’s offense will translate anywhere. He knows how to implement those, which is not the case with the triangle.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with incorporating triangle elements (as pretty much every team does). Hornacek even had a  head start on learning those.

Hornacek played four seasons on the Suns for Cotton Fitzsimmons from 1988-92, winning 54 games per year. Harvey Aaron of The New York Times:

“And guess which offense we ran way back then?” Colangelo said. “We ran the triangle.”

Fitzsimmons, he explained, had been an assistant in the mid-to-late 1960s (and head coach successor) at Kansas State to Tex Winter, widely considered to be the triangle offense architect and later Jackson’s mentor when they both were assistants to Doug Collins with the Bulls in Chicago.

Using Fitzsimmons’s triangle, the Suns rose in the West with 48- and 49-win seasons.

“We had the right personnel for it, especially a good passing center in Neal Walk and a really smart, physical power forward in Paul Silas,” Colangelo said. “That’s the key, the right personnel. I mean, if you have a Michael Jordan and a Scottie Pippen, it’s a great offense.”