Now that he’s got his head coach in Jeff Hornacek, Phil Jackson’s next offseason task is recruiting free agents to fill out the New York Knicks’ roster. To do that in a year when everyone and their mother has salary-cap space, he needs a hook, a recruiting pitch to separate the Knicks from other suitors.
Obviously, each free agent will get a pitch targeted to their specific desires and potential fit on the team, but everyone wants to know — with that new coach, you still sticking to that Triangle, Phil? His answer, courtesy of ESPN’s Ian Begley, finally included some real common sense.
“The 3-point line has become our affection, because it means more when we make a 3-point shot. So the spacing has changed dramatically,” Jackson said at a promotional event with Shaquille O’Neal and ESPN’s Hannah Storm. “So the triangle can still be a part of that, but it has to adapt.”
Oh gee, Phil, that 3-point line sure has changed the game since it was introduced before you ever started head coaching in the NBA! Might be time to get with it, huh?
Jokes aside, it’s encouraging to hear that Phil is open to tweaking the Triangle in an intentional way, rather than simply softening its concepts on the fly to appease players more accustomed to modern offenses who are struggling with the system. Hornacek has said he’ll incorporate some of his go-go concepts from his previous coaching job with the Suns, and that was always to be expected because he otherwise probably wouldn’t have agreed to coach the Knicks. But Phil hasn’t openly said the Triangle needs to adapt to fit the three-point line before, which is insane when you think about the way the best teams in the NBA have used the long ball for years now (it’s going quite well, thank you).
Every team in the league has to adapt their system year after year. To be still is to be passed by in the NBA, and if the Knicks are going to be a playoff team next year like Phil says they can (we’re not so sure), they’re going to need to be just as adaptable as the rest of the NBA. Finally.