The New York Knicks are going to implement the famed triangle as their offensive system; no doubt about it. Phil Jackson demanded it and coach Derek Fisher, who thrived under the system when he was a player, has already put it to use during the Summer League in Las Vegas. The thing is, everybody knows it is going to be used, but no one talks about its consequences.
Well, the way I see it, it will be great for the team. Imagine the way the San Antonio Spurs played this season and add Carmelo Anthony to the picture.
The triangle is all about ball movement and off-ball player movement. It’s about team play, selflessness and finding the open man, unlike anything the Knicks did last season, when isolation plays were the go-to strategy. They have been trying to get back into relevance the past 15 years by acquiring players and not focusing on the system itself.
Let’s take into account two specific players — Iman Shumpert and Andrea Bargnani — and the disappointing aspects of their games during the 2013-14 season. With Shumpert’s inability to score consistently and Bargnani’s terrible shot selection along with bad end-game plays that always ended up with the ball in Melo’s hands, you can see why the isolation game is bad in modern day basketball. Heck, not even Michael Jordan managed to win a championship on his own talented individual performances. These two players (I could list so many more) were supposed to bring the franchise back to life, but injuries and poor coaching prevented them from succeeding. Under the triangle, I think they will find their game once again.
When the triangle offense becomes imprinted on the players’ brains, making them instinctively look for the open man or look to get open themselves, none of these problems will ever have to happen again. Instead of relying on Shumpert’s weak ability to create his own shots on the wing or on Bargnani taking three point shots with two defenders in his face, the team will have real possibilities for a good shot. Shumpert will only have to work on his shot instead of having to work on ball-handling as well. Bargnani can finally improve his help defense during the offseason, given he will be able to take open threes again and will have time to spare. The end-game plays will have five possible shooters, which will make for a spread-out floor with open players ready to score, instead of players desperately trying to find Anthony who will have three guys on top of him for the final shot.
The point is, if the squad really buys into the system, they will see an increase in good shot opportunities for everyone, making it easy to work on improving other aspects of their games. Who knows? Maybe the team’s defense will even improve just by having more time to work on it.