Training camp is just a few weeks away, and it’s still unclear how Jeff Hornacek’s New York Knicks will play next season. Knicks president Phil Jackson has previously insisted that they run the triangle offense, but when he hired Hornacek, it seemed like he might be empowering the coach to do something different.
Hornacek met the media in June and said that the triangle would be “a part of our offense.” In August, Kristaps Porzingis said he was working on his post-up game because it will “help us in the triangle.” Hornacek, however, had success with the Phoenix Suns when he had his team push the pace, shoot 3-pointers and run pick-and-rolls.
In Hornacek’s old system, his playmaking guards had a ton of freedom. That might benefit someone like Derrick Rose, the Knicks’ new starting point guard, who told SLAM’s Drew Ruiz that nobody knows how his team is going to play:
I don’t know what to expect with the team. I’m expecting something good but I don’t know, really, like, in detail what to expect. Am I going to run pick-and-roll with KP? Am I going to run it with Melo? If Melo has the ball, am I going to come off and set a ramp of picks coming down the court? Like, I don’t know how we’re going to play and the style we’re going to play. I think we’re going to play an uptempo-type pace and probably use the Triangle here and there. But right now, nobody knows.
Given that the offseason is essentially over, it’s strange that the guy who is supposed to be the coach on the floor has no idea what the team is going to do. In a normal situation, Hornacek would have met with him or at least told him the plan over the phone. This does not appear to be a normal situation, though.
In an interview with Today’s Fastbreak’s Charley Rosen about Hornacek, Jackson implied that his preferred system will live on:
“In sum, I like our relationship. As far as his own game plan, all I did was to give Jeff the basic format that I like and he was enthusiastic about using it. But I understand that he has to coach what he knows how to coach. His plans for fastbreaks, early offense, build-up drills and the like are up to him.”
Most people are going to read “basic format that I like” as a substitute for “triangle offense.” If that’s the case, though, why not just come out and say it? Since Jackson’s coaching search started, Knicks fans have wanted to know just how committed he is to this system. He and Hornacek have successfully avoided answering the question in a direct way, but it sure doesn’t sound like the triangle is going away entirely.
All of the confusion seems avoidable and pointless — New York cannot conceal its intentions forever. There will be preseason games in less than a month, so the plan will be on display.
Source: CBS Sports / It appears that nobody on the Knicks knows if they’ll run the Triangle