• Knicks Have an Adjustment to Triangle Offense

    Added - Dec. 17, 2014 - Comments


    As most NBA bettors are well aware, the New York Knicks greatly underachieved last season. And there was simply a bad atmosphere, as after a poor start, the rumors were already flying that coach Mike Woodson was going to be shown the door. The team made a decision to dip into the past in order to determine the direction for the future, and thus they made Phil Jackson the president of basketball operations.

    Jackson, of course, was a reserve on the last world championship team the Knicks had, and of course, he has also known plenty of championships in his two NBA coaching stints, with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. In those jobs he used something called the "triangle offense," which was essentially taught to him by assistant coach Tex Winter. It has been a staple of his philosophy ever since, and he has brought it to the Knicks through his hiring of coach Derek Fisher. Those who are familiar with the championship Laker teams that Jackson led, which featured Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, recall Fisher as a team leader and dangerous clutch shooter.

    At the end of last season, Fisher concluded his NBA career, and in an unusual move, but certainly not unprecedented (Jason Kidd did the same thing last season in Brooklyn), he was named head coach by Jackson, the brand new executive. There are certain positives and negatives associated with a head coach who has recently been an active player. On the one hand, he may have an easier time relating to its personnel; on the other, only the force of his personality will help him establish himself as an authority figure.

    Naturally, Fisher played in the triangle while he was Jackson, he knows it quite well. He was the closest thing to a point guard the Lakers had, although using that term is somewhat of a misnomer in this kind of scheme, because there really is no point guard, per se. The system exists on ball movement and swift coordination. Players cannot just stand around and execute the triangle offense. And since it is by no means "standard," it can take an extended period of adjustment.

    Furthermore, when you have well-established players like Carmelo Anthony, a perennial All-Star, they can have a hard time fitting in, because they really need the ball in order to thrive, and the triangle is predicated on a little more team work than might be expected in what has become of a league where all too often they clear out the lane for the superstar.

    The Knicks have not taken to the offense right away, although ironically Anthony seems to be one of a handful of guys who has caught on. New York lost fifteen of its first 19 games, and they were horrible against the basketball pointspread during that time (5-14 ATS). So far they have been pretty average shooting the ball, and rank in the second half of the NBA statistics with regard to assists. But they are playing a very slow game; their 93.4-point average is higher than only three teams in the league. And they have been a poor rebounding squad. Jackson vows that he is going to start seriously evaluating the personnel, and so basketball bettors might expect some significant changes by the new year.