The New York Knicks are moving in a great direction when you take into consideration the type of system basketball that is going to be implemented by head coach Derek Fisher. The triangle offense is the most successful offensive system in the history of the NBA, and the last 11 titles that it promoted were all captained by shooting guards, including two of the best players to ever play the game: Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
That doesn’t mean the system is focused on the shooting guard. In fact, the system is so good because it gets every player on the floor involved. That said, the role of the two guard is crucial for it to flow well.
For the Knicks, the system is supposed to take Carmelo Anthony‘s game to the next level while moving away from pick-and-roll and isolation plays that became so predictable last season, as pointed out by president Phil Jackson in his first interview as the head of basketball operations. However, it is also a way of taking some of the weight from Anthony’s shoulders and make everyone around him better.
Anthony is the most prolific scorer of the roster and is consistently competitive night in and night out, but in order to contend for a championship, a team has to have options. If Jordan himself couldn’t take the Chicago Bulls to a ring by himself, Anthony won’t be able to do it either.
Here’s where J.R. Smith comes in. Smith showed last season that he can be a beast when he puts the effort. He was the top scorer for the team a few times and proved he’s got all the offensive skills to pose a threat to opponents. A driver, dunker and three point specialist, he could be a superstar if he manages to keep his mental focus and work ethics at the same level. Maybe Jackson’s philosophy will get Smith’s mental game to where he is physically.
Anthony might be leaving New York for another team, and in that case, Smith is going to be even more crucial for the triangle to work. He needs to spread the floor and surprise defenders with his speed and handles, and get all the inspiration he can from Kobe and Jordan in order to become the offensive force needed for the team to succeed.