Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek: Triangle 'will be a part of our offense'
The triangle is in New York is still alive and kicking
Jeff Hornacek met the media as the new coach of the New York Knicks for the first time on Friday. The second question posed to him and president Phil Jackson was about the triangle offense, and both of them laughed. It was surprising that this wasn't the first question.
"There must be something about the word triangle," Hornacek said. "Maybe we'll call it the circle offense. To me, it's just a way to space the floor. When I was talking with Coach in L.A. and started looking at things that I would like to do out of the triangle offense, he goes, 'Yeah, you can run whatever play you want out of the triangle offense.'"
Hornacek sounded a lot like Jackson when he said he thinks people have the wrong idea about the system.
"In Utah when I played, we had the 1-4 set," Hornacek said. "It was just a way to space the floor. It's the same reads, a lot of the same reads that we did then. In today's game, with a lot of the pick-and-rolls, it's just reading basketball. And so again, when I look at it, if you take the normal set-up of the team, most of the teams, you can watch Golden State, almost any team that runs pick-and-rolls, the spacing -- if you just put, move one guy six feet to the side and one guy six feet down, you're in the same exact alignment. It's something that we can run a lot of plays out of. It'll be a part of our offense. It's something that has worked, it's won championships."
The takeaway: reports of the triangle's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Or slightly exaggerated. I guess we'll find out when the season starts. In retrospect, it was silly to expect a different sort of answer. After all of Jackson's comments defending the triangle offense and arguing for its relevance in the modern NBA, it would not look great if his new coach disavowed it entirely in his introductory press conference.
Later in the session, though, Jackson spoke of the differences between this and the day that the Knicks introduced Derek Fisher two years ago. Fisher was a first-time head coach, and Jackson wanted to surround him with veteran assistants, like Larry Bird with the Indiana Pacers. Jackson implied that Hornacek would have more freedom to run the team his own way, given that he has done the job before and knows how to run a practice.
Perhaps this means Hornacek will have more latitude when it comes to straying from the triangle. Already, saying that it will only be "a part" of the offense is significantly different from how Jackson and Fisher talked about it.
Hornacek also said that he wants New York to force turnovers and get out on the fast break. The Knicks have not pushed the pace since the Mike D'Antoni days, so this would represent a huge stylistic shift.
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