The noise surrounding Phil Jackson’s implementation of the triangle offense in New York is a cacophony of voices debating if it can or cannot work in the modern NBA. Most of those voices are of the opinion that it doesn’t belong in the association nowadays. Many point to the Knick’s repugnant return of wins to Jackson as the reason this esoteric, arcane, yet possibly archaic offense should have been buried once Jackson’s coaching career ended in Los Angeles.
The biggest issue for the Knicks, however, is that any offense will be unsuccessful if not supplied with functioning NBA players.
Will Perdue knows the triangle offense inside and out, as he was a member of the Chicago Bulls during their first three-peat, when it was being introduced to the team. Perdue joined Gio and Jones and talked about the triangle offense. Simply, he’s a firm believer.
“When it’s run correctly, it cannot be stopped,” said Perdue. “No ifs, ands or buts about it. But that’s the biggest thing, if it’s run correctly because it’s very complex.”
Perdue said it wasn’t welcomed with open arms in Chicago from the jump, including consternation from a certain player who may well be the greatest of all time.
“First of all, you have to be willing to run it,” said Perdue. “And quite honestly, Michael (Jordan) was resistant to it as well. … But Phil (Jackson) continued and was persistent and told him ‘either adapt to it, or we’re going to have problems.'”
Jordan adapted, to the tune of six rings with Jackson and the triangle. But its abstruse nature makes it difficult to understand and run.
“The one thing about the triangle is if it’s run correctly, and that’s the hard part right there: run correctly,” said Perdue. “Correctly meaning all five guys on the floor have to read the same options, read the same situations at the same time and that’s very difficult.”
The four-time NBA Champion, as Perdue would later obtain another ring with the San Antonio Spurs before returning to Chicago, admits that Jackson and the offense benefited from the likes of Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
“The thing that you got to also remember is that, what does Phil (Jackson) have that a lot of teams don’t have?” asked Perdue. “Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, because there are bailouts in the situation where you run into a screen roll in the last six seconds and a guy that has to be able to create his own shot.”
The debate will rage on about the triangle and how it fits into modern NBA, but if the Knicks don’t get higher quality players, we may never know.