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Old 11-20-2007, 12:23 AM   #16
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by ExpatSunsFan
Because the simple pick & roll is so powerful nowadays, I doubt you'll see anybody run the Triangle after Phil Jax retires;

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.

It has nothing to do with Phil Jackson, it's -all- about Tex Winters. While Phil Jackson definitely understands the offense and realizes its potential, Tex Winters is the one who designed the current "NBA" version of it. He got it from his coach, and while there have been a lot of assistant coaches who understand the offense, once Winters finally calls it a day and doesn't even operate in a consultant role, you'll see the triangle offense disappear in the NBA.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by ExpatSunsFan
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.

just real quick want to note the difference between a motion offense and a read offense. a motion offense like the princeton, has a number of option cuts and passes at each position that the ball comes to. but basically it is a sequence of set plays that lead from one to the next. a read offense like the triangle is different in that the motion that the players take is linked to what the initiator does with the ball and how the defense adjusts when the ball hits the post. as you say the spacing remains strong because the players move with the ball. the variations in the triangle are almost limitless because the players can make so many decisions and read each other to adjust. it's just a matter of familiarity with the system and each other. it's also true that when players fall out of synch it helps a lot to have a great bail out one on one scorer.

jalenrawley nailed it in his long post on page one.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:12 AM   #18
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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just real quick want to note the difference between a motion offense and a read offense. a motion offense like the princeton, has a number of option cuts and passes at each position that the ball comes to. but basically it is a sequence of set plays that lead from one to the next.
So is the Triangle. They're both "motion offenses"--a small number of set plays, each with 'limitless' variations because they're run from different spots on the floor, with the players off the ball making reads and adjusting on the fly.

The biggest difference between the Triangle and the Princeton (both unusual among motion offenses in that they don't use screens) is emphasis--Princeton cuts are supposed to create easy shots, and if they fail the offense has to be reset; while Triangle cuts (while they might create easy shots if the defense is weak) are primarily intended to occupy defenders while the offense achieves favorable geometry and spacing for an isolation play. As you might imagine, there's far less pressure on the initiator in the Triangle, since he's not forced to make critical or risky decisions.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:25 AM   #19
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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
It has nothing to do with Phil Jackson, it's -all- about Tex Winters. While Phil Jackson definitely understands the offense and realizes its potential, Tex Winters is the one who designed the current "NBA" version of it. He got it from his coach, and while there have been a lot of assistant coaches who understand the offense, once Winters finally calls it a day and doesn't even operate in a consultant role, you'll see the triangle offense disappear in the NBA.
Uh, no.


The problem with the Triangle is that Winters is trying to run it in Los Angeles right now, and the Dallas Mavericks got better results from similar players last year with a base offense that consisted of posting guys up at the FT line extended.

That being the case, what head coach is going to commit to running this needlessly complicated offense, at the expense of his team's defense and his players' sanity? The only answer is Phil Jackson, and his reason is that it's part of his snake oil box, along with his championship rings and autographed Michael Jordan memorabilia.

Winters could put his resume out for the next decade, and he wouldn't get a nibble from anybody but Phil.
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by ExpatSunsFan

The biggest difference between the Triangle and the Princeton (both unusual among motion offenses in that they don't use screens)

The triangle uses down screens (primarily by bigs) on the weakside so players can pop out from the baseline for open looks, and also ball/hand-off/brush screens on the strong side on their "guard around" option. You're right that it's not predicated on screens by any means, however.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:12 AM   #21
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Just an aside, because I've posted many times on the triangle, and I'm at work now, so I can't really get into it, but the Celtics have aligned in what's sometimes called the crossed triangle, which I've never seen before, but heard about.

It's run with the post option on the block, and the two primary options across the court. Tex talked about it with Walton, because he liked to turn and face from the mid post, a lot like Garnett, and he was tall enough to see over and pass cross court. Tex says it's ideal, because the only effective double on a face up post guy comes from across the court, which frees up one of the primary scorers. If that skip pass is made quickly, your essentially playing two on two with your two best players, and the only help that can come is from the primary post guy, leaving him open for inside passes and lobs, and since he lines up in a further post than normal, he's got some way to come. It especially helps if those two weakside guys are good shooters. I haven't seen the Celtics use it enough to decide weather or not it's concious, or if they're just accidently aligning that way out of transition. But it's a very interesting take on this arrangement that's at best very rare.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:02 PM   #22
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by Thorpesaurous
....but the Celtics have aligned in what's sometimes called the crossed triangle, which I've never seen before, but heard about.

It's run with the post option on the block, and the two primary options across the court. Tex talked about it with Walton, because he liked to turn and face from the mid post, a lot like Garnett, and he was tall enough to see over and pass cross court. Tex says it's ideal, because the only effective double on a face up post guy comes from across the court, which frees up one of the primary scorers. If that skip pass is made quickly, your essentially playing two on two with your two best players, and the only help that can come is from the primary post guy, leaving him open for inside passes and lobs, and since he lines up in a further post than normal, he's got some way to come. It especially helps if those two weakside guys are good shooters. I haven't seen the Celtics use it enough to decide weather or not it's concious, or if they're just accidently aligning that way out of transition. But it's a very interesting take on this arrangement that's at best very rare.
First, that's Doc Rivers greatest weakness on display right there. Rivers has no basketball personality of his own. He takes plays and concepts from so many different people that his offense become a jumbled mess after a while.

Second, I didn't realize that Triangle option was a cognizant thing. I thought it was just an alignment that Triangle teams fell bass ackward into. It's a ridiculously easy alignment to get into now that I think about it. Don't know why I never realized it was intentional.

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Originally Posted by dejordan
just real quick want to note the difference between a motion offense and a read offense.

I think the fact we are talking about NBA teams and offenses is clouding the “motion offense” concept.

The Princeton and Triangle offenses in their truest forms are in fact read offenses that include many types of screens. However, in the NBA due to low basketball IQ’s and shot clock length teams have to remove some of the reads and just give certain options.

That’s why many coaches will say things like it’s a “Princeton-style offense”. Style is a key word there used to explain that the offense will use certain concept from that offense (high post split of the Princeton, the 4 Out 1 In alignment of the Triangle, etc) while not being the true form of that offense.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:38 PM   #23
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Second, I didn't realize that Triangle option was a cognizant thing. I thought it was just an alignment that Triangle teams fell bass ackward into. It's a ridiculously easy alignment to get into now that I think about it. Don't know why I never realized it was intentional.

It's just odd that there would be an intentional set where two of your three best players are set on the weakside. I truly doubt it happened out of a call, I think it was more of a secondary break situation.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:43 PM   #24
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Great thread / posts. Thanks for the reading.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:01 PM   #25
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by Da KO King
I think the fact we are talking about NBA teams and offenses is clouding the “motion offense” concept.

The Princeton and Triangle offenses in their truest forms are in fact read offenses that include many types of screens. However, in the NBA due to low basketball IQ’s and shot clock length teams have to remove some of the reads and just give certain options.

That’s why many coaches will say things like it’s a “Princeton-style offense”. Style is a key word there used to explain that the offense will use certain concept from that offense (high post split of the Princeton, the 4 Out 1 In alignment of the Triangle, etc) while not being the true form of that offense.
thanks for explaining that way better than i could king.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:08 PM   #26
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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It's just odd that there would be an intentional set where two of your three best players are set on the weakside. I truly doubt it happened out of a call, I think it was more of a secondary break situation.
I'm not so sure. It’s a hell of a “misdirection continuity” if Kevin Garnett is killing the defense from the mid-post.

Let’s say you have your PG (Rondo) up top, the SG (Allen) on the left wing, the SF (Pierce) on the right wing, PF (Garnett) on the right mid-post, and C (Perkins) also up top with Rondo.

Perkins and Rondo can run a screen and roll action away from Garnett or he can simply make the entry to Pierce and fill to the right corner, forming the Triangle.

So now you have PG (Rondo) in right corner, SG (Allen) on left wing, SF (Pierce) with the ball on the right wing, PF (Garnett) on the right mid-post, and C (Perkins) up top.

Pierce makes an entry pass to Garnett and then makes a post cut and fills to the left corner. KG is a good enough passer that if Pierce’s defender plays him too closely Garnett can make that drop pass to Pierce for a basket.

New alignment is PG (Rondo) right corner, SG (Allen) left wing, SF (Pierce) left corner, PF (Garnett) with the ball in the right mid-post, and C (Perkins) up top.

If the defense attempts to double off Rondo it’s an easy pass back out to Rondo for a shot (if he improves his shooting) or a corner screen and roll between Rondo and KG.

If the defense attempts to double off Perkins off the face-up it’s a simple cut to the rim and finish for Perkins. Another option would be pass to Perkins up high then run the “euro screen” for Ray Allen.

If the defense sends a defender from the left (either Pierce or Allen’s defender) then the pass goes to whichever of the two is uncovered. Added bonus on this option is if Perkins defender is the man that rotates you now have the opposing team’s center attempting to defender either Ray Allen (most likely) or Paul Pierce (possible but not likely).
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:42 PM   #27
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

The thing about the cross court alignment is that it isolates the two help side defenders as far from the action as possible, and in as useless a position as possible.

You'd get into it with a high screen between Rondo and Perkins, then move Garnett to the strong block with a cross screen, most likely from Pierce. Or use Garnett as the high screener, then back screen him to the short corner with Perkins, a screen the screener action. That should get Garnett the ball, mid post, and Rondo corner, Perkins high makes up the usual triangle.
The thing is, Garnett is going to instinctually inside pivot and face up. That renders doubles from Rondo's guy useless, because he's on his back. Doubling off of Perkins is only going to cover the top.
That creates the triangle between Garnett, and Allen/Pierce on the weakside. Any action off the ball on the weakside, like a cross between the two, should be enough to open them up a little.
The help is less likely to be too agressive off of those two, plus it's got less size, otherwise there'd be iso problems against either one. Should the ball get skipped, you have Pierce and Allen in a two on two situation, with the help coming off of Garnett having to cover more ground, because of the distance Garnett plays off the block. And the help would coming off of Garnett, which is a good thing.
You're asking him to make a difficult pass across the middle of the floor, but Garnett's length makes him one of the few people I could imagine pulling it off. Winter has talked about it with regard to Walton. Shaq's post position is much deeper, making that cross court pass less impactfull. And Jordan would have a more difficult time because he's shorter, plus he's playing one of the two spots you'd want that iso on the weakside for.

One of the problems the C's have with the traditional triangle would be their Centers on the weakside, who generally can't shoot, meaning you get an automatic double team. That's why the Bulls went after guys like Wennington. It's the reason Brian Cook can find a roll on the Laker's when he otherwise may not be in the league.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:09 PM   #28
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Originally Posted by ExpatSunsFan
Uh, no.
The problem with the Triangle is that Winters is trying to run it in Los Angeles right now, and the Dallas Mavericks got better results from similar players last year with a base offense that consisted of posting guys up at the FT line extended.

That being the case, what head coach is going to commit to running this needlessly complicated offense, at the expense of his team's defense and his players' sanity? The only answer is Phil Jackson, and his reason is that it's part of his snake oil box, along with his championship rings and autographed Michael Jordan memorabilia.

Winters could put his resume out for the next decade, and he wouldn't get a nibble from anybody but Phil.

None of this has anything to do with the facts of the situation, which is what I corrected you on. You talk about the triangle offense as if it's Phil's offense, and that anywhere he ended up going, the triangle offense would automatically go with him. Not necessarily so. If he has the personnel, and he brings Tex Winters along to help modify it for the personnel he has, then yes he will run the triangle there, but the equation is not Phil Jackson = Triangle Offense, it's Tex Winters = Triangle Offense. Period. Phil recognizes it's usefulness, he recognizes that you can utilize it to be more successful with a team with a couple skilled players and a handful of role players, but he's not the expert, and he's not the architect. If Winters retired tomorrow, new players coming into the franchise wouldn't have the opportunity to learn the offense from the number one person to teach it, and as players keep coming into the league younger and dumber (in terms of actual basketball knowledge), they need a LOT of instruction in order to run the offense. Jim Cleamons is very experienced and knowledgeable with it, but he's not Tex Winters. Nobody comes close to his level of knowledge and expertise with it, because he's the only one who learned it first hand who is still coaching.

Several other coaches have run the triangle, but none of them have achieved success because they're doing it without Tex Winters around. You can run certain sets of it, but in order to run all of the sets of the offense, and in order to truly teach the players how to read and react to defenses within the scope of the offense, you need Tex Winters. Phil Jackson is not an X's and O's coach; never has been, never will be. So, if Phil goes to New York, and Tex Winters decides that it's time to retire, the Knicks won't be running the triangle the way the Lakers do and the way the Bulls did.

Tex Winters doesn't need to put out his resume anywhere. He's set for the rest of his life. He could do consulting gigs, seminars, camps, etc. once or twice a year if he really wanted to continue teaching the principles of the offense. He's only in LA because Phil wants him there, because Phil wants to run that offense and needs Winters around to adapt and teach it.

Whether or not you like the offense, you agree with it being run, or whether or not you see the benefits of it being run elsewhere are irrelevant. I wasn't correcting your opinion, I was correcting your regarding it as Phil's offense and it goes where he goes. Again, if Phil goes anywhere and Tex doesn't go with, that team will not run the triangle offense. Certain sets, sure, but many teams run similar sets. Many triangle sets are very similar to more common motion sets, just with different spacing. But as far as a team running a large part of their offense through the triangle? That goes with Tex, not Phil.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:19 PM   #29
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

Sorry Jalen but I disagree, I think Phil Jackson is a one trick pony who will try to force his Triangle peg into any round hole of a coaching job he gets.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:53 PM   #30
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Default Re: can someone explain the intricacies of the triangle offense to me?

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Sorry Jalen but I disagree, I think Phil Jackson is a one trick pony who will try to force his Triangle peg into any round hole of a coaching job he gets.

I don't agree at all. Phil's more of a manager than a coach. He's not out there teaching X's and O's, he's not out there hammering the details of the offense down, he's not the expert on the offense, Tex is.

Phil believes in the offense, obviously. He believed he had the personnel to take advantage of it. He believes in the concepts of it, in that you don't run a static offense than another team could learn and react to. Look at his substitutions, look at his coaching style.. it's all about matchups, it's all about creating advantages. That's what the triangle is all about. If he had never heard of the triple post offense before, he'd be running a motion read offense. He believes in the fundamental skill of reading and reacting to a defense.

As Jim Cleamons found out, the triangle doesn't work everywhere. If the Lakers had gotten Jason Kidd, they would've abandoned the triangle more than they do now. They don't run a triangle set -every- time down the floor. The players have the option of waving it off, and just like with the Bulls, they'll run other sets from time to time to shake up the defense and force them into making more mistakes, creating more advantages for the offensive players.

And actually, it's a moot point anyway. Phil's not going to be coaching for very many more years, and Tex definitely isn't. Neither is interested in taking over a crap team and rebuilding, and there aren't any championship teams that need to replace their coaches. It's not like Isiah is going to get fired, Phil is going to go to New York and say, "I think Stephon Marbury and the inside triangle are made for each other like peanut butter and chocolate." In fact, I think of the entire Knicks roster, only Malik Rose has ever been in a strict NBA offense. Marbury, Crawford, Curry, Randolph, Richardson, Robinson; all selfish loose cannons, and that type of play does -not- fit into the triangle, nor into Jackson's motivational and educational coaching agenda. Do you honestly believe if New York hired Jackson today he'd be forcing those meatheads into the triangle? There's no way, not even on their best day. If he was dead set on running the triangle, he'd have to have $5M in players on the floor and $80M of players sitting on the bench.

On second thought, that last bit doesn't sound like a bad idea.
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