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Lost in the Triangle

With Phil Jackson on board, the Knicks instantly become a viable team in the East, right? The savior for the New York Knicks this season is the Zen Master’s implementation of his famous triangle offense, through the new head coach of the team, who knows this system very well, Derek Fisher. There is one problem though, the Knicks don’t have the players ready to make the triangle offense work.

Triangle: A proven attacking system
The triangle offense has been proven to work and no one has achieved more with the triangle than Phil Jackson. The issue with that comment; was that a product of the system or the players using the system? Phil had the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago, then moved onto the Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Jackson used the triangle almost throughout his tenure in the two powerhouses back then. Yes, this offense works. But can the New York Knicks take advantage of it this season? Doubtful.

New York Knicks: Taking the triangle to the present
In order for the triangle to work, a new mindset has to be implemented. An unselfish mindset relying on movement without the ball and crisp passing, nothing the Knicks have been familiar with in recent years. There’s no denying Carmelo Anthony can score, can he play through the triangle? A majority of Anthony’s points come off of isolation. A half-court offense in which the ball would be brought up court and dumped to Carmelo in the post. The Knicks would live or die by the shot created strictly by Anthony. Teaching the triangle to a group of individuals who, for decades, have learned to play basketball one way will be a struggle. It’ll be something completely new and different from what they’re accustomed to.

J.R. Smith has been struggling with the offense over the last couple of seasons, experiencing a lot of ups and downs. He’s unaware of what to do in certain situations without the ball. That’s because in his entire basketball life, he’s had to create his own shot based on one-on-one situations. He, like others on the team, do not have the triangle mindset needed for it to be successful which is why I think it will be a complete failure.

The Knicks will put together a season respectable enough to make the playoffs, but nothing more. The triangle offense seems great in theory. Through the past 20 years in NBA history, we’ve seen some of the greatest teams and players using it to reach the top. Phil Jackson has written golden pages in the NBA’s history book and one of the reasons why he achieved that was the triangle. Nonetheless,history may not repeat itself for the Knicks this season. Until they get another superstar to compliment Carmelo, they’re average at best, even if Phil Jackson’s legendary triangle assists the team to an extent.