Gary Vitti Suggests Pace Of Triangle Offense Minimized Risk

Gary Vitti Suggests Pace Of Triangle Offense Minimized Risk


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Over the past two years, head coach Mike D’Antoni has basically been public enemy number one in the city of Los Angeles. Although Dr. Jerry Buss had the final say in the hiring of D’Antoni over Phil Jackson, the run-and-gun style of offense taught by D’Antoni hasn’t improved the team’s chances of competing.

In an interview with Ben McGrath of The New Yorker, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti explains how the triangle offense used by Jackson helped minimize injury risk due to the pace at which it was played:

Vitti’s best guess was a kind of chaos theory, that the contemporary game had become too fast, and that the run-and-gun systems espoused by coaches like D’Antoni introduced too many possibilities for things to go wrong.

“They’re constantly on that precipice of being in control, just a thread under being out of control,” he said. “Now, you look back at our triangle offense” -Phil Jackson’s system-“and don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it should be played that way or this way, but it’s a very controlled pace.”

With all the injuries the Lakers have had to deal with over the past two seasons after the implementation of D’Antoni’s offense, it seems as though Vitti has a valid point. The pace of the offense simply isn’t sustainable and the end result appears to be countless injuries and a team that has gotten progressively worse as a result.

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Obviously, most Lakers fans and former Lakers like Magic Johnson have all lobbied for Jackson’s return. D’Antoni hasn’t been able to turn things around with or without Kobe on the floor and may be fired in the off-season due to that fact.

As of right now, there’s been no clear indication of what Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak intend to do with D’Antoni. The head coach is currently under contract for next season, but that hasn’t stopped the Lakers brass from parting ways prematurely like they did with Mike Brown last season.
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  • Lakersvet

    Just what I been saying! Dumbtoni tore Kobe’s achillies! Making them run back and forth is no bueno! Especially for Kobe’s legs !

    • Daryl Peek

      Yet Kobe was more injured, 04-12 than the much older Nash who played in the D’Antoni system all those years? Nash’s knees are fine. He didn’t need to seek outside special treatment to keep his knees straight so he could continue to play.

      • fugazi71

        Are you talking about the same Steve Nash who’s played like 5 games in 2 years?

        And last I checked having a player, your key player who you yourself referenced as having previous leg injuries run up and down the court like it’s a jr high rec league probably isn’t the best idea now is it? Then again that’s more Jimmy Boy Buss’s fault for hiring Dumbtoni than it is NoD’Pringles’ fault. Pringles is just doing what he’s always done – lose and look dumb doing it. There’s a reason why every city he’s coached in hates him.

        • Daryl Peek

          “Yet Kobe was more injured, 04-12 than the much older Nash who played in the D’Antoni system all those years?” What part of that is not sinking in?

          Yes Nash has been on the shelf the last two seasons but as stated, he was much more durable than Kobe’s slower paced triangle days VS.Nash playing for MDA in the so called injury producing run and gun system all of those years. Kobe is the one who needed to seek alternative medical treatment abroad during that time to keep his knees in game shape. Nash never missed more than 7 games due to injury from 2000-2012. Kobe missed more than 8 games 5 times during said time span due to injury and 3 of those were 15 plus games missed in a season.

          • Mr. Smith

            For starters, all those injuries Kobe had were very minor injuries, like the finger that he never had surgery on because it wasn’t THAT important. Furthermore, Nash benefited from Phoenix’s elite training staff. They were able to keep the oft-injured Grant Hill healthy the whole time he was there, as well as Shaq.

          • Laker4ever53

            Nash doesn’t jump! He didn’t do all the things Kobe did on the court. There’s no comparing their athleticism.

          • Daryl Peek

            Kobe rarely set screens and took charges, he’s on record saying not doing those things likely helped prolong his career. Nash always set screens against opposing centers and PF’s, and took charges. There’s much more physically to this game than running and jumping.

      • $99752914

        Yet Kobe never had a torn Achilles in a offense that has been proven doesn’t work. You bring up Nash..but less you forget about Amare, Raji, Shawn… whom all have either had serious injuries in this severely flawed offense or the wear and tear on there bodies, including Nash (bad back)… what Gary is saying is that MDA offense is horrible and he is gone, fired, out, done… period.

        • Daryl Peek

          What about Shaq, Bynum, Ariza, Karl Malone, Fisher (00-01) LO 06-07, Luke Walton, Farmar (09-10) and Gasol, (09-10). MDA has a way better track record of keeping players off of IR.

          MDA will likely be the scapegoat who pays the price for this horrid season but the injuries are not of his systems making. This so called severly flawed offense is being run by 90% of the NBA and has been proven to win championship by Miami as Spoelstra says he runs a hybrid version of it. So do the Spurs.

          Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, David Becham, Terrell Suggs all tore theirs. It’s just a freak injury that can happen to anyone who’s been as active as all of these athletes.

          • 3339

            You defending dantoni is like hearing Skip Bayless say that he would rather have Tim Tebow instead of Tom Brady.

          • Daryl Peek

            The D’Antoni and Jimmy haters are like listening to Steven A. Smith stubbornly spout his First Take BS when Jeanie, Phil and other actual participants in the Lakers organization have spoken on the source of his smear campaign lies.

          • Zimmeredge

            The problem with his system and type of game is that tip top players, in tip top form, with a tip top work ethic and are dedicated, professionnal players can only play this game. As i told you i’m afraid our young lads are just enjoying their leisure Time in la eating pizza, burgers, Bacon and shitty stuff like that. Going out at night. Who can blame them? They are young. They want to enjoy their Life in lalaland. But if you are meant to run and you get injured it´s the team’s problem. Nobody is as workaholic and dedicated as Kobe is.
            Of course you have to play the d’antoni’s way sometimes but you have to implement that here and there as a variation

          • Daryl Peek

            I can’t roll with the age theme. Jason Kidd has the Nets playing small ball with older players and they are thriving in it. The Spurs run it with their older roster. Even the Showtime Lakers ran with KAJ, Wilkes, Jim Chones, Bob McAdoo, Swen Nater, Kupchak, Maurice Lucas, Mychal Thompson and Cooper. The later 80’s teams had a majority of its players over 30.

            All season we’ve seen stories of teammates going in on healthier food choices on Access Sports Lakers. A few of them went in on purchasing grass fed cows. Sacre and others boast on having low body fat. Even Kaman spoke on weight when he first joined the team, asking Mitch how much Gasol weighed and being surprised he was not heavier than Gasol’s normal playing weight..

          • Zimmeredge

            Well maybe access is here to show whatever they wanna show to promote a good image of the team. Health, food, but also recuperation, stretching, massage, going to the gym.

          • 3339

            What has he been wrong about exactly mr. Lakers insider? He said the Lakers would suck and the have. He isn’t the only one calling out management?
            What is he so wrong about?????

          • Daryl Peek

            So the Lakers had a bad season, Everyone expected that with Kobe being hurt. Now compile that with all of the other injuries. Steven A. is a profit, WOW!

            He was wrong about Jimmy and his ego. He was wrong about who made the call on the D’Antoni hire. He was wrong on Jeanie usurping Jimmy due to his so called buffoonery when Dr. Buss made it clear Phil had no place in the Lakers future. Magic, and everyone else trying to evoke a coupe through media pressure were wrong and they know it. It was all a smear campaign with a scapegoat as their target. Magic has flip flopped on Jimmy so much over the last two seasons it’s ridiculous!

          • $99752914

            You’re right DP, Miami runs it..chips… Spurs run it…chips… all of MDA teams that runs “his” version of it.. 0 chips… it’s the WAY he runs it that people have a problem with it, Miami runs a “hybrid” of it because it kills the guys running it, the wear and tear… and as you see POP wont hesitate to rest TD, Manu and TP… because of wear and tear… if you look at Kendall Marshall as the analyst said last night is he has been playing more minutes than he ever has and it has effected his game…please look it up, i’m too lazy to pull up the quote… long day

          • Daryl Peek

            Hahaha. Only problem with folks sticking to the overused minutes theme this season is, no ones really playing major minutes. Meeks is our leader in minutes at 33 per game. That’s about average for an NBA starter. 37-38 is what players like Kobe and Gasol always got playing for Phil in the triangle. Gasol is at 31.5 which is a career low for him. Marshall is 22 years old and his 30 MPG is only 8 per up from his career average of 22. Now of course this is the first time he’s played this many games. As young as he is coupled with the fact that his minutes have drastically dropped in February and March, the overused wear and tear theory is not valid. Steve Blake and Meeks were the only two players on roster you could possibly say that about.

            Think about it? How often are most complaining about MDA and his so called erratic rotations that no one can figure? They get mad about players not getting consistent PT. You can’t overwork players if they’re not getting consistent PT.

          • $99752914

            The fact remains… Mike is gone…

    • Matt Williams

      You’re preaching to the choir!

    • lakesho

      Everyone blames d’antoni but no one ever blames the nba scheduler. Don’t get me wrong, d’antoni has to go. Im not sure he has enough control over this team to right the ship. There’s plenty of time in the season to avoid so many back-to-back games.

  • Mitch

    Mike D’Antoni is 100% responsible for very serious injuries to Kobe Bryant,Amare Stoudemire,Raja Bell,Shawn Marion,Steve Nash back injury,Iman Shumpert,Pau Gasol.The proof is in the pudding if you look closely because none of these players have any history of serious injuries until Mike D’Antoni got a hold of them to run them into the ground.Gary Vitti just assured of us all of what we already suspected.

    • Tyler

      I think Age and bad luck has as much to do with them breaking down. D’Antoni sucks, but it’s disinegenous and blind hatred to lay it all on him

      • LakerSteve

        For the most part I agree with you Tyler. Although, an argument can be made that with players getting bigger, stronger and more athletic every year, they are now more at risk and may need to play less aggressively some of the time. The players, in a way, are their own worst enemies. Even in offenses that aren’t nearly as fast paced, guys like CP3, Rondo & D. Rose have had serious injuries and we’re seeing the same type of injuries more often in football and baseball. I remember watching the Lakers run almost all game during the Showtime era, but they suffered a lot less serious injuries. Speed + muscle + weight + jumping etc etc is putting today’s players at greater risk and I think ‘Antoni’s style is likely only going to increase the risk.

        • novert

          Great analysis. Yes, they ran a lot during the Showtime era but it was mostly straight up and down the court. Today’s game features a lot of super quick lateral movement, eg. crossovers, and those will kill the knees and ankles.

    • Daryl Peek

      If that’s the case Phil is responsible for, Shaq, Bynum, Ariza, Karl Malone, Fisher (00-01) LO 06-07, Luke Walton, Farmar (09-10) and Gasol, (09-10). Scottie Pippen Toni Kukoc, John Paxson, ETC…

      Kobe and Shaq stayed injured under Phil. Kobe was the one who had to get his knees treated outside of the U.S. to help sustain being able to play this game.

      This is how silly the MDA system injury argument sounds.

  • Mitch

    Mike D’Antoni will be fired and he will never coach again in the NBA.Thank god!

    • Matt Williams

      He needs to go to the NCAA.

  • NoBlinders

    Oh please, here we go again with the blame game. Last I checked, Laker players this season got injured this season when they came down on someones foot after a shot/rebound, got smacked on the head by an errant elbow from an opponent, collided knee to knee with another defender, got fouled on a break away by a defender who is simply preventing an easy 2, and others. Guess what, those injuries happen no matter what the freaking offense is. Oh, and last I checked, Kobe injured himself this season on a slow half court set when trying to post up Tony Allen. D’Antoni sucks as coach, but everything being piled on him is ridiculous. The Suns training staff got Nash to play 62 games I think the year before he got traded to LA. Most of the 20 games he missed were DNP’s when they sat him out the 2nd of back to backs. Maybe Vitti needs to look at himself too. Everyone on the team, from the FO, the Coach, Players, are all to blame for this piss-poor season.

  • Grey

    Pretty much the entire league runs some firm of the MDA offense. He’ll, the Heat have some otter old players and I don’t see them dopping like flies. Allen and Battiet are still pretty agile and quick. It has more to do with the Lakers having the must miserable luck imaginable. It’s like they are cursed. Kobe must have sold his soul to get to 5 (1 more than Shaq) and the devil has now come to collect.

  • Shaun

    And how does a run and gun offense cause Vertigo and an Upper Respiratory Infection? What? It’s so fast Paus equilibrium got thrown out if whack, or it caused Wes’ immune system to weaken?

  • Marty Susman

    Our high school coach did in fact destroy Kobe & all the other players leg’s BUT he id the Lakers a great favor, he got us a good draft pick. If we are looking for a college coach, can you say Florida ??? If you want a proven guy, think Van Gundy (bald) If you are thinking an X Laker, think Byron Shaw, if you are thinking mark Jackson, please forget it.

  • hoperhetoric

    but I don’t want a triangle offense with a ballhogger player anymore.
    So many heartbreaking Blowout embarrassing losses!!! even if it produced
    rings it doesnt matter because any system with two superstars in a team
    can win rings!

    problem with Lakers injury under Dantoni is Xavier always having
    offbalance elevation, Kobe took many minutes last season just to make
    sure lakers get to playoffs. Nash is old but capable of playing 80% of
    every season if only Lilard did not injure him. Blake is about elbow
    & back injuries.
    injured himself in fast break, Few seconds before his elevation I predicted
    him that if he continue that play, he can get injured. Fast break is
    prone to flagrant fouls. Farmar also got injured in fast break(Farmar is
    not that fast when in the floor & became less athletic ever since
    he left the Lakers so no way he could get injured with his normal plays)

    Meeks & Bazemore can tell if Dantoni offense is really an injury prone offense(They are the most active but not injured)

    Triangle offense w/o Kobe ballhogging is good!
    saying a lot that he needs to take over even in early game because his
    team can’t shoot, well it’s because there is no point guard that gives
    the teammates easier shots. Triangle relies on 1-2 players being doubled
    team to free up teamamate shooters. To counter the triangle, the
    opponent just need to have a designated defender that doesnt need help
    of double team.
    Just like Dallas with Marion & Chandler who swept the loaded talent of Lakers.

    fact: Kobe saying that even if hes passing the ball in triangle, the
    teammates can’t shoot? Well because there is two types of kobe in
    passing mode. 1 is when he passes the ball off the dribble/w/dribble
    penetration that collapses the opponents defense. 2 is when he is
    passing the ball w/o dribble penetration & not attracting double
    teams! (A lazy pass, In kobe’s mind- “Here take the ball, create your
    own shots, I knew you can’t, people will see u r struggling, then I’ll
    get the chance to take over & Kobe show!

    in Dantoni offense or not as long as theres a designated point guard,
    even a reject players can shoot & become better players!

    Triangle offense only won rings because of already having two superstars.
    Just like Wade won with older Shaq!

  • Jerry East

    they should have hired bryan shaw when Phil left los angeles instead of experimenting with brown and di “antoni” ….they should have continue with the triangle…they have been successful with the triangle over the years …chicago bulls when phil was there was successful with triangle …why fix when it’s not broken….. triangle works for god sakes it has brought championships from 90’s to 2000’s ….brown and d antoni system hasn’t produce a championship in NBA … i think bryan shaw would easily handle the lakers rather than brown or d antoni ….

  • Wedontneedwins


    • HUH_90


  • Robert L. I.

    I’ve been saying this for two years. Just look at D’Antoni teams he’s coached before…lots and lots of injuries. D’Antoni is like the ownership style of Jim Buss. Arrogant, focuses blame on others, and runs teams into the ground.

    I see many people posting here how the Lakers need to use draft picks to get their hands on a Big, but what they are forgetting is, the word is out that this isn’t the same organization Magic Johnson played at. Players of Allstar caliber aren’t going to make this their 1st. choice. Stop fooling yourself. Jim Buss has even made the Lakers Los Angeles’s 2nd. team. The Lakers have become the Clippers bitch. It only took 12 years…

    This just didn’t start happening recently. Jim has been involved in major decisions for fricken years. There are some great articles out there with a thorough outline about how things have been going to shit for many years.
    Thx Jim!

    Until Jim Buss is forced out things will only get worse.