Analysis: How the Knicks fit into a triangle
April, 22, 2014
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesThe triangle has made champions out of many. So where do the current Knicks fit in?TORONTO -- The Mike Woodson era is over.
The triangle era is nearly upon us.
On the day he was hired as the New York Knicks' president, Phil Jackson made it no secret he wants to see the team play system basketball. Unfortunately for the franchise, the Zen Master says he’s not entertaining any thoughts about returning to the bench. But it makes all the sense in the world to hire one of his former disciples (Steve Kerr?) and then help the new coach install and teach the triangle offense.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how some of the Knicks' current pieces fit, or don’t fit, in the triangle assuming that the core -- and Carmelo Anthony -- of the team is intact for next season:
If we're talking about his ability to play in the triangle, I think he can. He can direct the offense and work within the system's principles and find enough opportunities to pick and choose his spots. He might not be as athletic, graceful or as high-flying as Jordan and Bryant. Melo is more of a bull inside compared to those two. However, Melo is excellent at scoring on his man -- like MJ and Kobe -- and should be able to work out of the post like Jordan did at times.
Anthony will have to improve his passing, trust his teammates and will need them to make plays and make the right decisions in the triangle. Patience, which is a major requirement of Jackson, will be a must. Melo has said if he re-signs, he will do whatever Phil asks of him.
Grant improved his mid-range jumper in the triangle. And Stoudemire should be able to get open shots in the system. Andrea Bargnani might also benefit from the triangle as well.
J.R. Smith does provide the Knicks with outside shooting and the ability to slash to the basket. Jackson’s teams had some great spot-up shooters, such as John Paxson, Craig Hodges, B.J. Armstrong, Robert Horry and Glen Rice.
Smith will need to be patient and take fewer quick shots without passing. He has to be able to play without the ball and move. But if Smith can pick up the triangle, he will be able to also pick and choose spots to score within the offense. All of this can be said for Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. Jackson did sign Lamar Odom, but it remains to be seen what Odom has left in the tank and in the head.
Raymond Felton’s future is a bit uncertain given his legal situation. And his outside shooting has to improve. Jackson could bring in a veteran point guard to help, much in the way he used Harper on his teams.
Shumpert could be the next defender to shine under Jackson’s watch.
“The triangle offense is one of the best offenses to run because of its balance and because players can play defense out of an offense like that,” Jackson later added. “Instead of having stretched players who are standing in corners and have to recover from a difficult situation, you have guys that are in balance and there is an opportunity to defend from your offense.”
On Jackson's Bulls teams, Grant and Scott Williams provided energy, shot-blocking and rebounding. And of course, Jackson had Rodman for the second Bulls' three-peat. Tyson Chandler should be able to duplicate some of those things but will also need to improve on his passing.
“I think anybody can fit in it,” Chandler said. “I played in a triangle when I was younger in my Chicago days. It is equal opportunity. It allows the game to dictate who takes the shot, and everybody else understands that and understands how to play off of it and I think that will be beneficial for this team.”