Since arguably the greatest NBA coach of all time, Phil Jackson became President of the New York Knicks, every decision he has made has been met with intense scrutiny.
One of Jackson’s decisions was to instill his favored triangle offense into the coaching system, which has had mixed results. When speaking to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jackson affirmed his belief in the triangle and that sticking to the system will benefit the team in the long run:
“I knew the parameters of what would go on from years of playing in series against the Knicks,” Jackson said. “I remember all the barbs. It’s a process of sticking to my beliefs and being able to say, ‘Whatever.’ This is what I was hired to do. I’m going to follow the plan and if it doesn’t work out, it will be evident.
“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.”
In the age of small-ball, the offensive system that afforded Jackson 11 NBA championship as head coach is seldom seen. The Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls legend believes that the triangle can still bring teams success:
“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,” Jackson said. “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.”