If you’re on Cloud 9 off the Knicks’ current tank job let me bring you back down to earth. The triangle offense will return in 2018. Phil Jackson never dropped the desire to move on from the Triangle which should not be a surprise. He fired Derek Fisher over it and refused to interview top head coaching candidates last season because he wanted Kurt Rambis to run it.
(It’s funny that Jackson didn’t want to interview Tom Thibodeau even though Thibs ran a little triangle in Chicago.)
When Jeff Hornacek signed on he said the Knicks would run elements of the offense, but implement more pick and rolls and speed the offense up. That was then this is now. It is hard to tell whether Hornacek genuinely believes in the offense or just has Jackson’s hand so far up his ass he can’t control his brain.
The team will be running the Triangle exclusively from the jump next season. Hornacek plans to implement it during training camp and Jackson plans on finding guys that fit that system.
“Do we have the right fit of guys running the system?” Hornacek told ESPN. “If we think that we can somehow — with a fresh start of training camp and go to it right off the bat, if that helps us and Phil [Jackson] and Steve [Mills] — we think maybe the same guys on this team could have a different outlook on it, then we’ll stay the same. If not, they’ll look at other guys.”
Other guys will include whichever point guard the team selects in the upcoming draft plus free agents. The good news is that means Derrick Rose is history. He doesn’t understand the Triangle and has no interest in running it.
Neither does Carmelo Anthony. This is yet another indicator that Melo is on the way out. Could Melo have thrived in the Triangle? Maybe. But as good as a player as he is he is also extremely stubborn. He refused to give Mike D’Antoni’s system a chance and we see how that is working out when run properly in Houston.
That is not to say the Triangle will work. According to Ian Begley veterans have already begun to voice their displeasure about the return of the system. They find it to be slow-paced, predictable and too reliant on midrange shots. Chances are those veterans, whoever they are, will be shown the door too.
“Everybody coming into next year, we got to buy into the one way that we do it,” Hornacek said. “We probably tried to piece too many things together this year, and we could never get it together quick enough. So we’ll look at everything next year.”
The most important aspect to focus on is how this affects crowned jewel Kristaps Porzingis. Every move the Knicks make should be based off how it optimizes their centerpiece. He’s coming off his best offensive game at center–24 points, 3-for-7 from three– against Rudy Gobert (best defensive center in the league) and the Utah Jazz.
If KP moves to center exclusively and the team commits to the Triangle maybe it works out. Whatever the Knicks choose to run they must stick with it. This season the team constantly switched up what they were running leading to confusion on the floor. Hornacek said that will not be the case next season.
“As it turns out, looking back, it probably wasn’t the greatest thing to do, because you’re not focused on one or the other. You’re not getting enough of the same repetition of the same play, and they can make reads off it. It’s something we have to make a decision on and just go with it.”
Jackson gets his way in the end. Carmelo will be gone and the triangle will be the foundation of next season. Let’s see if this actually works out.