Phil Jackson is finally ready to concede the triangle offense isn’t ideal in 2016.
On Shaquille O’Neal’s The Big Podcast with Shaq on Monday, the New York Knicks president admitted the system is difficult for players today to pick up (via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News):
The triangle is a different story. How do you teach a system that requires so many fundamental skills to players that really haven’t been taught some of that basic stuff with footwork and passing and all those rudiment type of skills that are learned, that have been, that have changed over a few years? It’s a different game.
Jackson believes the problem isn’t with the offensive system, which has helped him win 11 NBA championships as a head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, the issue with young players having the skills necessary to implement the strategy.
With many players entering the league after minimal time in college, it makes sense that they would be less fundamentally sound than they were 20 years ago.
Jackson has attempted to implement his system in New York since joining the front office in 2014, but the squad has struggled to a 49-115 record over the last two seasons.
While the triangle isn’t necessarily going away, new head coach Jeff Hornacek will attempt to bring a faster style of play to New York to utilize the strength of the players on the roster.
"He wanted to accelerate the game and play at the pace that’s kind of, present ballplayers like to play at," Jackson said. "And yet also find a way to try and incorporate (a half-court offense). It’s got to be done in a way in which it doesn’t slow the game down but actually accentuates what they’re trying to do."
Hornacek will likely do whatever he can to try to get the most out of a talented roster that features Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose.