Phil Jackson is no stranger to the media. In fact, during his coaching days, he loved to use the media to poke at players, coaches, places; to try and manipulate the referees; or just to espouse his basketball-as-life-lessons philosophies. To Jackson, the media was just another tool in his coaching utility belt.
When Jackson can’t use the media as a tool – when the media isn’t so kind to Jackson – he views them as part of the team’s problems, according to the New York Times.
“I would have never thought that something like this could happen,” said Jackson, who blamed the news media for putting undue pressure on the team and for shining too bright of a spotlight on the triangle offense. “The season became convoluted because everybody wanted to discuss the triangle and how the triangle was going to perform.”
The season did not become convoluted because everyone wanted to discuss the triangle. The season became convoluted because the team chose to run the triangle. How, exactly, can one shine too bright of a spotlight on the triangle offense, if that is indeed the very offense your team employs? Should the media instead focus only on the defense? Because that’s not going to bring much positive press either – the Knicks are the second worst team in the league on defense, allowing almost 108 points per 100 possessions. The reason we discuss anything is to understand it, so perhaps the reason the triangle was discussed so much was because no one could understand how it was helping the Knicks.
This isn’t the first time Jackson’s griped about people taking shots at the triangle. Earlier in the year, Adam Silver poked fun at the triangle, a comment with which the zen master took umbrage.
Silver jokingly said it “clearly” looked as though the Knicks were “still learning” the triangle after their loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t so humored by the commissioner actually jumping in on top of that, too,” he said. “He doesn’t need to get in on that. There’s enough focus on [the] triangle. It’s not anything. It’s a system. It’s simple basketball. Just play the game. We’re over the triangle; let’s get to business and play the right way.”
What Jackson meant by “undue pressure” is unclear. New York City is one of the most media-saturated cities in the NBA, not to mention all of sports. Surely Jackson must have known that and expected a constant spotlight.
It’s as if Jackson expects some sort of immunity from the media and fans because of…well, not even the that’s clear. There’s a reason fans and media made shined such a harsh light on the triangle this year, and that reason is Jackson. He’s the one who decided to hire Derek Fisher because he knew Fisher would run the triangle. If Fisher is a foundational piece to Jackson’s vision of the Knicks, then so too is the triangle. And since the Knicks are bad, and one of the reasons they’re bad is because of the offense, then the triangle must be discussed.
The season did not become convoluted because everyone wanted to discuss the triangle. The season became convoluted because the team chose to run the triangle.