One of the tenets of Phil Jackson's philosophy as New York Knicks president is that the team runs the triangle offense, the system the Hall of Fame coach used to win 11 championships. Jackson was so hell bent on running the triangle that he fired former coach Derek Fisher in part because of his reluctance to use it. However, it seems Jackson has changed his tune.
Through the first two preseason games, coach Jeff Hornacek hasn't run the triangle, in large part because players don't like it. This apparently doesn't bother Jackson, who according to Hornacek has been "hands off."
"Guys," Hornacek said, "don't like to run it."
"I think that's where most people are coming from," Hornacek said. "If you end up being a slowdown team and never end up getting easy buckets and you're running that halfcourt set all the time... guys, first of all, don't like to run it.
"But secondly, it makes it very difficult to get easy buckets early in the offense and I think in today's game those early buckets are nice to get. We're not running it every time. We're mixing it here and there. Hopefully, for us it's a good thing we can do when we need to execute a play on a dead ball that we have something to go to."
Hornacek is Jackson's fourth coach in four seasons, and the Knicks president may be starting to understand that he can't coach the team from the 10th row.
"He's kinda been hands-off," Hornacek said following Sunday's practice at The Garden. "He gives suggestions here and there if he sees something. And he says 'clean this up, this particular action.' So it's good. It's another coach out there.
"He's run it for years and years. Really, he's not coming in there saying, 'change it to this or change it to that.' So it's good additional information."
If Jackson truly is not pushing the triangle, it makes Hornacek's job a little easier, since he doesn't have to use a system he doesn't believe in. Hornacek makes it clear he's not against the triangle and uses some aspects of the system, though it doesn't seem to be a big part of his offense.
Of course the regular season hasn't started, so Jackson could be change his mind. But for now, all is well between Hornacek and Jackson.