Knicks President Phil Jackson: ‘Today’s Players Simply Lack the Skills to Play the Triangle’

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

When the New York Knicks hired head coach Jeff Hornacek this offseason, team president Phil Jackson's deathgrip on the triangle offense he used to run with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers seemed to loosen.

"The things I've heard is that [Hornacek is] not going to be required to run the triangle," said former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy after the hire was all but announced. "Which is smart from the standpoint that he's never taught it before. So you don't want to come in trying [something] that you've never played in or taught. I'm interested in that. But I think it's an inspired choice."

And now we may know why.

"Today’s players simply lack the skills to play the triangle," Jackson apparently told Charley Rosen in December 2015, as his team sat at 10-14. "They know how to play one-on-one, catch-and-shoot, and they’ve mastered crossover dribbles, spins, playing off of screens and step-back shots. They don’t know how to execute things like inside-reverse pivots and other basic footwork. They have no sense of timing or organization. They don’t really know how to play five-on-five basketball. It’s strictly generational."

Okay Grandpa Simpson, that's one way to put it. Or, one could say that the triangle is much, much easier to run when you have the best living shooting guard on your team. Or, one could say the Knicks' current GM doesn't have the sense of talent and forward thinking to put together a competitive roster. It's strictly generational.



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