triangle offense


  • Despite the presence of Bryant as the centerpiece of the team, the Lakers could not get past the first round of the playoffs in 2006 or 2007.

  • In 2014, former Bulls player Steve Kerr began using a hybrid triangle upon joining the Golden State Warriors as head coach, mixing in certain aspects of run and gun and small
    ball to huge success.

  • When Jackson became the head coach of the Chicago Bulls before the start of the 1989–1990 NBA season, he and Winter originally installed the triangle offense in an attempt
    to subvert the Jordan Rules strategy employed by their Eastern Conference rivals, the Detroit Pistons.

  • The Lakers became an elite NBA team during Jackson’s first term as their coach, making four NBA Finals appearances in five years and winning three straight championships from

  • The following year, however, Chicago finished the 1990–1991 NBA season with a then-franchise best 61–21 record, good for first place in the East, then swept the archrival
    Pistons 4–0 in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals.

  • Nor did the team make the playoffs in each of Jackson’s three seasons.

  • Jackson won his first (and only) NBA Coach of the Year Award for his efforts during his team’s record-breaking season.

  • The team’s other guard stands at the top of the key and the weak-side forward is on the weak-side high post—together forming the “two-man game”.

  • Jordan, back at the helm for the team in his first full season since coming out of retirement, won his fourth NBA MVP award.

  • It has been claimed that the triangle offense is the optimal way for five players to space the floor on the basketball court.

  • Another former Jackson assistant, Kurt Rambis, tried using the triangle without success during his brief two-year stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2009 to 2011.

  • Cleamons’ triangle failed to click with the Mavericks’ players, and after Nelson became head coach, the team abandoned it in favor of his Nellie Ball offense.

  • He next served as the head coach of the Lakers twice, first from 1999–2004, and then from 2005–2011.

  • He was an assistant for both the Bulls and Lakers on the first nine of Jackson’s 11 championship teams, and served as a consultant to the Lakers on the final two.

  • [8] International Tim Cone, the current head coach of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, continued the movement in the triangle offense and brought it to the PBA in 1989, thus
    aiding him to win a league-record 25 championships with three different franchises.

  • During all of this time the original strong-side block player is able to establish position for an easy shot while the defender is lured by all of the movement and cutting
    by the other players.

  • The advantage on the second option is that the player who has the ball and uses the screen now has the entire side of the floor to work with to go one on one.

  • After Tim Floyd replaced Jackson as Bulls head coach in 1998, he was asked by general manager Jerry Krause to use the triangle offense, and even retained Winter as an assistant
    for one season.

  • The goal of the offense is to fill those five spots, which creates good spacing between players and allows each one to pass to four teammates.

  • The desired initial option in the offense is to pass to the strong-side post player on the block who is in good scoring position.

  • From there the player has the options of looking to score or pass to one of the perimeter players who are exchanging from strong-side corner and wing, a dive cut down the
    lane, or the opposite wing flashing to the top of the key which initiates another common option known as the “pinch post”.

  • Similarly, in 1993, Quinn Buckner tried to implement the triangle without success during his brief coaching career in Dallas.

  • When Phil Jackson retired as a head coach at the end of the 2010–2011 season, he finished his career with over 1000 victories over the course of his coaching career, regular
    season and playoff games combined.

  • Jackson installed the triangle offense again when he started coaching the Lakers in the 1999–2000 season, with Winter once again serving as an assistant on his staff.

  • Floyd resigned early in the 2001–02 season, and abandoned the triangle in favor of the Princeton offense during his lone season coaching the New Orleans Hornets in the 2003–04

  • If the strong-side wing-to-guard pass is not possible, the third option is for the weak-side forward to flash to the strong-side elbow, take the pass, and cut to the basket
    on the trademark backdoor play of the offense.

  • The triangle offense, while successful during Jackson’s legendary coaching career, has proved to be less effective in comparison to modern NBA offenses, which place more emphasis
    on perimeter shooting and player versatility.

  • In 2014, Jackson joined the New York Knicks as president of basketball operations, and hired former Laker Derek Fisher as the head coach in hopes of installing the triangle

  • Jordan had already established himself as an elite NBA superstar by single-handedly turning Chicago into a playoff contender.


Works Cited

[‘1. Barry, Dan (June 28, 2017) “The Triangle Offense, a Simple Yet Perplexing System, Dies.” Archived 2020-11-18 at the Wayback Machine New York Times. (Retrieved October 11, 2018.)
2. ^ “Basketball – A Game of Geometry”. Relativity Digest. 2016-11-12.
Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
3. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (2012-01-18). “What Ever Happened to the Triangle Offense?”. Grantland. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
4. ^ “The Jordan
Rules”. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
5. ^ “1989-90 Chicago Bulls season”. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
6. ^ “Warriors End Regular Season in Record-Breaking
Fashion – Golden State Warriors”. Archived from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
7. ^ Gleeson, Scott. “kobe-bryant-inducted-into-pro-basketball-hall-fame-2020”. USA Today. Archived from the original on 18 November
2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
8. ^ Barry, Dan (29 June 2017). “The Triangle Offense, a Simple Yet Perplexing System, Dies”. The New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
9. ^ Teicher, Jordan (September 14, 2017). “Where the Triangle Offense
Lives”. The New Yorker. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
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