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Jeff Hornacek won’t run the triangle all the time

The system may have won 11 championships between 1991 to 2010, but the game has now changed and players have already been complaining about the triangle offense. With this being said, New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek plans to switch his plays and avoid using the Tex Winter-designed offense on all possessions.

The 53-year-old bench tactician admitted that most of the issues raised to him was about its pace and how it slows down a player, making it difficult for them to play their natural game. But getting support from the franchise’s president, Phil Jackson, certainly helps his case of adding other offensive sets. Hornacek said that his boss has been hands-off in training camp and has allowed him to run the practices together with his staff.

As reported by ESPN’s Ian Begley, the two-time three-point shooting champion discussed how he plans to change the offense and what it takes to make the Knicks a contender.

“We’re not running it every time. “We’re mixing it in here and there, and hopefully for us it’s a good thing we can do to execute a play on a dead ball that we have something to go to [in half-court sets].”

“Phil’s been great. He’s not trying to take over and make us do anything. He’s given us the leeway. There are some things that we do that aren’t the triangle stuff [such as] our early [offense]. Quite honestly, we thought he would say, ‘Let’s not do that.’ Or, ‘Let’s not do that option.’ But he hasn’t said that at all.”

Hornacek also shared the players’ sentiments about the triple-post offense and how it pulled the team’s pace down:

“If it slows you down, I think that’s where most guys [who critique the triangle] are probably coming from. You end up being a slow-down team and never get easy buckets, and you’re running that half-court set all the time. First of all, guys don’t like to run it. Secondly, it makes it very difficult to get easy buckets early in the offense. And I think in today’s game, those early buckets are nice to get.”

Two other legends have also given their support to move on from the offense designed back in the post-war era. Former Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale had this to say:

“Jeff was a good hire. As GM, you do have a style of play you want to have in your head. Phil had so much success in the triangle, but that was his system. As a GM, you got to give up some of that control and look at the coach and say: ‘What are you comfortable bringing?’

“It sounds like Jeff’s got a lot more room to get up and down,’
Indiana Pacers great and current TNT broadcaster Reggie Miller also chimed in on the topic:
“I think everyone was worried these new type of players were going to be forced to run the triangle. Players like Noah, Rose and [signee Brandon] Jennings, they’re not triangle-type players. They’re more free flowers.”
It will be hard to contest whether or not the triangle offense is still effective in the modern game or not, but until it’s proven otherwise, expect Phil Jackson to watch his team’s new sets closely. And once he feels that the triangle will be more ideal for them, he has the authority to tell his head coach to go back to it anytime during the season.
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