Late in Phil Jackson’s tenure running the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis made a bold statement: New York should’ve been running the triangle all along. That was in stark contrast to teammate Carmelo Anthony, who resisted the triangle.
“Carmelo undercut him, telling [Kristaps] Porzingis not to say anything in public about how good the triangle was,’’ Rosen said. “Carmelo refused to run the triangle — which is why Phil re-signed him: There was a lot of pressure from [owner James] Dolan. But if Carmelo would’ve run the triangle, he’d be open on the weakside.
“He’d have to pass and do this and run around, but he’d ultimately have a whole side wide open — 16-17 feet away from the basket. The defense would be too far away to double. He’d have open jump shots and was one or two dribbles from the basket. He’d be a killer. He’d be Michael Jordan. He’d be unstoppable. But Melo was catch and shoot and didn’t want to do other things.’’
Carmelo Anthony would not have been Michael Jordan in the triangle. That should go without saying.
Was Anthony sometimes too reluctant to screen, pass and cut? Yes. But that doesn’t mean he suddenly would’ve morphed into arguably the greatest offensive player ever based on scheme.
By the time Jackson got to the Knicks, the NBA had evolved. Rules changed. Teams better recognized the value of shots at the rim and 3-pointers. There were still lessons to draw from the triangle, but the system was no longer as effective as when Jackson coached the Bulls and even Lakers.
Anthony and other Knicks recognized that. So, while there were productive lessons to draw from Jackson, he undercut his helpful advice with his triangle devotion. That’s his fault, not Anthony’s (though it would’ve been nice if Anthony honed his peripheral skills, anyway).
Maybe only Rosen is knocking Anthony. This wouldn’t be the first time Rosen’s criticism was – correctly or incorrectly – attributed to Jackson. If this is only Rosen, it’s not worth overreacting to his opinion.
But this could reflect Jackson’s view. If so, that’d really show a lack of self-awareness about what went wrong during his Knicks tenure.