Phil Jackson: ‘I Don’t Care About the Triangle’

Knicks team president Phil Jackson denies that he’s obsessed with the team running the Triangle Offense.

The Zen Master simply wants the team to executive it correctly, no matter how complicated that may seem to the players.

New York is off to a 3-6 start, but Jackson says he will not change his course of action for the franchise.


There have been reports you are frustrated that (Knicks coach) Jeff Hornacek isn’t employing the triangle offense enough. Is that the case?


PJ: “No. But when they run it I want them to run it the right way. If you are going to do it, use your skills and run it the right way. I’m not frustrated at all. Derrick Rose missed three weeks of training camp (because of a civil trial). It’s totally understandable where we are as a ballclub. We have guards that do a lot of stuff off the dribble. I want them to understand they can do things off the pass. It has to be a combination.”


Can the triangle still be effective in today’s game, which has gone the “space and pace” route?


PJ: “If you want to learn the fundamentals of the game, you don’t bypass any of the basics, like how to make a post pass, how to set up a screen, what pivots you can use to escape pressure and force defenses to react. What are the passing lanes? You have to acknowledge that. You have five players on the floor. If you are going to drive you have to know where players will be on the court. If you are going to make a pass you need space between players and have a certain amount of lanes open. Appropriate space between players is 12-to-16 feet. Eighteen-to-20 feet is a little long to make an appropriate pass. We’ve extended that to create long lanes to allow players to roll to the basket and stretch the floor.”


So, is it safe to say the Knicks will not be a “space and pace” team any time soon?


PJ: “It’s my feeling when everybody does the same damn thing it becomes, ‘Who has the best Rolls Royce? Who has the best, fastest stock car in this race we are running?’ So if you have LeBron, wow, we’re going to do the same thing even though we don’t have the Rolls Royce? You have to be unique. You have to have something no one else is doing to have genius in this game. It becomes an ownership. I don’t care about the triangle. I care about systematically playing basketball. If the spacing isn’t right, if guys are standing on top of each other, if there aren’t lanes to be provided, or rebounders available to offensively rebound the ball, or we don’t have defensive balance when a shot goes up, all of these things are fundamental basketball. I follow it. I’m not railing, ‘This is inadequate’ or ‘This isn’t right.’ Just show me what will work. Are we running around for no reason? Can we hit the first cutter? Do we have the ability to hit the second option or are we just bypassing plays so someone can hit a 3-point shot? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

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