Carmelo Anthony laments Knicks use of Triangle offense mid-season, wishes Hornacek stuck to his system
Nearing the end of yet another disappointing season, the New York Knicks are at the bottom of the league with a record of 27-44. The Knicks will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year and will likely undergo significant roster changes in the offseason.
One change that is already scheduled to be put in place next season, is New York’s use of the triangle offense, which only after constant insistence from team president Phil Jackson has been implemented by Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek. This is a change from the inception of the season when Hornacek had the Knicks using his more uptempo offensive system that at times, had elements of the triangle intertwined within. The Knicks actually started the season off strong implementing Hornacek’s system and were 14-10 in the beginning of December. But then they drastically regressed and have been one of the worst teams in the league ever since.
When the Knicks started trending downwards, Jackson’s insistence on using the triangle offense only increased and so Hornacek relented, installing the system mid-season. This is a change Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony wishes didn’t happen as according to him, it is hard to all of a sudden switch up an offense on the fly during a season.
From the New York Post’s Marc Berman:
“I think everybody was trying to figure everything out, what was going to work, what wasn’t going to work,’’ Anthony said in the locker room at the former Delta Center. “Early in the season, we were winning games, went on a little winning streak we had. We were playing a certain way. We went away from that, started playing another way. Everybody was trying to figure out: Should we go back to the way we were playing, or try to do something different?’’
Anthony suggested he liked the Hornacek way.
“I thought earlier we were playing faster and more free-flow throughout the course of the game,’’ Anthony said. “We kind of slowed down, started settling it down. Not as fast. The pace slowed down for us — something we had to make an adjustment on the fly with limited practice time, in the course of a game. Once you get into the season, it’s hard to readjust a whole system.’’
Anthony is a hundred percent right about how hard it is to totally change up a system during the season. That’s the reason teams have a training camp, where they go over and drill their offensive sets so once the season starts, they just make tweaks along the way. But due to Jackson’s constant hovering, the Knicks are doing the opposite, changing things up during the season, when there is hardly any time to practice, so it’s no wonder that they’ve struggled.
Yet New York’s offense isn’t their biggest problem. The Knicks are actually a middle of the road offensive team, averaging 105.0 points per 100 possessions, which is 18th overall. The playoff-bound Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks actually have a slightly worse offense than the Knicks. Where the Knicks have struggled and is the crux of New York’s problems is actually on the defensive end of the floor.
The Knicks are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, giving up 108.8 points per 100 possessions. New York put assistant coach Kurt Rambis in charge of their defensive system near the beginning of the season but his schemes and tactics are clearly not working as the Knicks have been atrocious on defense all year. This can also be attributed to their lack of quality defenders and injuries but overall, if the Knicks don’t improve on defense next season, they likely will be in a similar situation.
Perhaps that is something Jackson can focus on in the offseason, instead of his constant pushing of an offensive system that may be outdated and simply doesn’t fit the Knicks’ personnel.