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Old 11-19-2007, 06:41 PM   #1
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Default can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

I have heard so much about this Tex Winters/Phil Jackson led style of offense. Can someone break it down step-by-step how it can work successfully, what makes it so hard to learn, and the pros/cons of using it? Also, does anyone have any video of an old Bulls or Lakers team running the triangle offense to perfection? I have a basic understanding of what the triangle offense involves, but don't know the nuts and bolts of it.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

well, i can't do it, but try this.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlh1981
I have heard so much about this Tex Winters/Phil Jackson led style of offense. Can someone break it down step-by-step how it can work successfully, what makes it so hard to learn, and the pros/cons of using it? Also, does anyone have any video of an old Bulls or Lakers team running the triangle offense to perfection? I have a basic understanding of what the triangle offense involves, but don't know the nuts and bolts of it.


Google is your friend.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by JalenRawley
Google is your friend.

Yeah, I know, but I like hearing the different interpretations from ISH posters as well.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

I want to learn more about it, too. If someone could explain it would be appreciated.

I found videos on Youtube about it, though. Straight from Phil Jackson's mouth.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3MGu7zB_6XU
The other parts are on the right side of the video under "related videos".
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlh1981
I have heard so much about this Tex Winters/Phil Jackson led style of offense. Can someone break it down step-by-step how it can work successfully, what makes it so hard to learn, and the pros/cons of using it? Also, does anyone have any video of an old Bulls or Lakers team running the triangle offense to perfection? I have a basic understanding of what the triangle offense involves, but don't know the nuts and bolts of it.
try this bro

http://www.cybersportsusa.com/hooptactics/triangle.asp
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

basically as far as what I know the point of the triangle is to give the post up player the easiest time scoring it. option 1 is the 1 dribbles it up and gives it to a wing and then goes to the corner. this creates a triangle with the center and the wing who has the ball. it optimizes feeding the post because there's no way the other team's center can deny the ball- if he fronts the Center, it's an easy lob, if he plays weak side the wing can swing to the 1 who passes it to the C and he's got an easy baseline move to the hoop, or, as usually happens, the 3 gets the easiest post feed ever.

another thing is it isn't always the center who posts up, sometimes other guys do it too.

that's why it's called the triangle. but after that everything gets subjective and it's an organic offense. depending on how the defense plays it, there are a variety of cuts and motions. but the essence of it is optimizing organized post play. if that sounds obvious and common it really isn't, as most NBA teams go with a pick and roll offense and some go with a motion and some (Cavs) don't have any offense at all. I guess it makes sense most teams don't use it, as it minimizes the role of the PG and maximizes post play, and most teams have much better point guard play than they have post play. it also requires 5 guys, 4 at the very least, who absolutely know what they're doing out there, or it won't work as well because it requires judgment and basketball IQ, and hardest of all, off-ball awareness.

Last edited by geeWiz15 : 11-19-2007 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie2k6
I want to learn more about it, too. If someone could explain it would be appreciated.

I found videos on Youtube about it, though. Straight from Phil Jackson's mouth.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3MGu7zB_6XU
The other parts are on the right side of the video under "related videos".


funny. just got done watching that same video and VOILA, your reply shows up :
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeWiz15
basically as far as what I know the point of the triangle is to give the post up player the easiest time scoring it. option 1 is the 1 dribbles it up and gives it to a wing and then goes to the corner. this creates a triangle with the center and the wing who has the ball. it optimizes feeding the post because there's no way the other team's center can deny the ball- if he fronts the Center, it's an easy lob, if he plays weak side the wing can swing to the 1 who passes it to the C and he's got an easy baseline move to the hoop, or, as usually happens, the 3 gets the easiest post feed ever.

another thing is it isn't always the center who posts up, sometimes other guys do it too.

that's why it's called the triangle. but after that everything gets subjective and it's an organic offense. depending on how the defense plays it, there are a variety of cuts and motions. but the essence of it is optimizing organized post play. if that sounds obvious and common it really isn't, as most NBA teams go with a pick and roll offense and some go with a motion and some (Cavs) don't have any offense at all. I guess it makes sense most teams don't use it, as it minimizes the role of the PG and maximizes post play, and most teams have much better point guard play than they have post play. it also requires 5 guys, 4 at the very least, who absolutely know what they're doing out there, or it won't work as well because it requires judgment and basketball IQ, and hardest of all, off-ball awareness.

Our offense is, "get the ball to LeBron 30 feet outside the basket and make him absorb as much contact as humanly possible as he drives to the lane, which will therefore make him peak at 26 years of age because of the constant pounding" or something like that.

Our ball movement has been decent at times, but Mike Brown will never be confused for Tex Winters.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by mlh1981
Yeah, I know, but I like hearing the different interpretations from ISH posters as well.

"Different interpretations" from ISH posters is another way of saying you're trying to get a consensus from a bunch of kids who have very little factual information on a subject... -any- subject.

If you want to know what the triangle offense is, seriously, go look it up. Research it. If you want to know what people think of it, that's another story.
Look for interviews with Tex Winters, those are the best things for it. Being up here in Chicago the whole time through the Jordan years, seeing Jim Cleamons go to Dallas and trying to run it there and failing miserably, seeing other teams run elements of it, we always got a lot of information on it. In school, the kids who played would always ask the coaches about it because we heard so much about it.

The primary function of the triangle offense is to react to what your opponent takes away. A defense cannot take away every element of your offense. He can take away your drive by packing the paint, but that opens up the perimeter and the posts. He can front the post, but that opens up the lane for cutters and interior screens to get free. He can tighten up on your perimeter, but that leaves your drive open. It's all about initiating the offense, seeing how the defense reacts, and attacking whatever the defense leaves for you.

The reason why it's the "triangle" offense is because you're using three players spaced apart from each other in a triangle pattern. In the original triangle offense, they were the guard, the wing and the center, with the guard initiating, the wing cutting, and the center posting. However, anyone can play any position, so you basically have the initiator, the cutter and the post player. The two remaining players on the weak side are essentially spot up shooters, but different sets allow them to cut, screen or draw the defense away from the triangle.

If you have a lot of versatile players on your team, like the Bulls and Lakers did, you can continually shift the offense and capitalize on matchups. For example, anyone who can hit an outside shot, generally a long two or a three, is capable of being the initiator. Anyone with a post-up game can be the post player, and anyone who can move well without the ball can be a cutter. So players like Jordan, Pippen, Kobe, Odom, etc. could and would play all three positions, depending on who was defending them. For example, if Kobe is being played by a defender that has slower footspeed than him, but is larger or stronger, therefore giving him more trouble in the post, putting Kobe in the initiator or cutter's position would give him an advantage as the defense is essentially taking away his ability to be the post player. If he's playing against a smaller, quicker defender, he'll have the advantage in the post.

And that, in a nutshell, is the triangle offense. There are tons of sets, and once you know the sets, you can improvise around them as you react to the defense. The key lies in knowing the sets, and not straying -too- far from them, so your teammates have some idea where the cutters and shooters will be. Because it's such a flexible offense, you can tailor it specifically to any players involved. It's also why you don't need a traditional point guard, and why Jackson and Winters like having taller point guards, and forwards with ballhandling skills and shooting range because they present more matchup problems to the defense by being able to play all of the positions of the triangle.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:50 PM   #11
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

thanks man. I know there are lots of kids on this site, but to get a good answer like that from you is definately something beneficial. Mixed in with the children, there are guys like yourself, kblaze, loki, dejordan, etc who know their stuff.

I saw some youtube videos and def. know more about it than I did before. Interesting to learn about basketball from an X's/O's point of view, which is a weakness I'm trying to shore up.

Basketball can be better appreciated when you have an understanding of the plays that are being run/executed. Gives you something to watch for on TV besides dunks and 3-pointers.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

nope. it's an offense that takes professional players multiple years to master. i read something by phil saying that the options in the triangle increase exponentially as the team's understanding of it grows. i can't remember which team he thought knew the most permutations, but he was big on one over the others. i feel like it was either the second bulls dynasty or the lakers. not the younger chicago team.

the main thing to realize about the triangle is that it's an offense that involves everyone reading the defense and reacting to ball movement. everyone has to get it because it's a fluid reaction based offense. not a set offense. and the reads begin when the ball hits one of the post spots - which can be both scoring and passing nodes, and that is where the defense loses integrity and offense takes off.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Oh god, Thorpe made one of the best posts I've ever read in a thread exactly like this one a while ago. Probably a good half year. I'll try to find it.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Quote:
Also, does anyone have any video of an old Bulls or Lakers team running the triangle offense to perfection?
Perfect example of the triangle offense


Couldn't find Thorpe's post. Looked for a while using the new search function, but nothing came up. Too bad too, it was really good.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

From what I remember, the point to the triangle is that you can run a motion offense without disrupting your spacing, because (for the most part) the players all stay 10-15 feet away from each other. Ideally, everybody moves and reacts off each other along pre-set patterns, everybody touches the ball, and the offense capitalizes on easy opportunities early, then sets up a favorable matchup in isolation (at the low block or the opposite elbow) as the clock runs down. The big advantage is that you don't need a true PG to run the offense--your best player(s) can focus on scoring while the other guys chip in with a bit of everything else.

The first problem is, you need five guys who know each other and the offense better than the defenders do. Even the dynasty Bulls and Lakers had a lot of sequences where the offensive players ran around in circles with their heads down while the defense jammed all the cuts, followed by a quick iso play by MJ or Kobe that wound up with a 'bad shot' as the shot clock ran out (which still had a decent chance of going in, because of the player involved). Obviously, the offense isn't nearly as effective if your bail-out guy is Jim Jackson or Jamal Mashburn, and the Mavericks and Jim Cleamons found that out first-hand.

Second problem is, you need role players who can run a motion offense, read and react off the ball, and spread the floor with their shooting. This is actually less demanding than most offenses for a PG, and Phil Jackson has never had much of a problem filling that spot, but it's a tall order for front-line players (much more rare because of their size), and as a result Triangle teams have often tried to 'make do' with big-man role players who lack size and/or athleticism and are mediocre defenders as a result.

Because the simple pick & roll is so powerful nowadays, I doubt you'll see anybody run the Triangle after Phil Jax retires; the offense's focus was always isolations, not picks, so you don't gain much from being allowed to move on screens. The offense is suited more to an environment where you can be very physical away from the ball--you don't need to run 15 seconds of motion to set up an isolation at the elbow nowadays, for one thing, and the offense's cherished 'triangle players' are sitting ducks on defense, since they're less able to compensate for lack of athleticism by bashing their men away from scoring position.


For the Cavs specifically, I don't think they could run the Triangle with Drew Gooden on the floor. Also, even if they brought in Phil Jax and handed the PF spot over to Varejao and Donyell Marshall, they'd probably still wind up with a ton of LeBron isos; they'd just be 20 feet from the basket instead of 30 feet.

IMO it would be easier for the Cavs to simply acquire a decent PG and run a conventional offense. Not that they're necessarily capable of doing that, but they won't be learning the Tri either, so it's kind of an academic question, right?
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