New York Knicks President Phil Jackson is regarded as the one of the best coaches of all time in any sports. The Zen master racked up 11 championship rings, including five with the Los Angeles Lakers, by employing the triangle offense.
The triangle is known for being complex and difficult for some to understand. Recently a couple of teams have tried to employ it, including Jackson’s New York Knicks, but the results have not been great and Jackson believes he knows the reason why.
Dan Feldmon of NBC Sports reports that Phil Jackson does not believe that modern NBA players are not equipped to run his complicated offense that was responsible for so much of his success as a head coach:
“Today’s players simply lack the skills to play the triangle. 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.”
Basketball has certainly evolved since Jackson was a head coach in the NBA. Today’s offense heavily relies on the pick-and-roll, spacing, and drive and kicks with an uptempo pace. The triangle is designed to pick the defense apart in a slower half court set.
Jackson may believe that the players of today’s NBA are not skilled enough to run the triangle, but the triangle may not be compatible with the way the game is played today. Sure, with the right personnel the triangle may still be an effective offense, but teams like the Golden State Warriors have changed the way teams have to match up with their high-paced ball movement.
Jackson will always be regarded as one of the greatest coaches of all time, and he has every right to his opinion. Whenever Jackson speaks about basketball, somebody will listen.