Recent news about Phil Jackson has some considering the idea this may be a good thing in the long run for the New York Knicks.
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson wants his organization to abide by the rules of “learning the triangle” and “playing the triangle.” The team walked away from running the triangle in the beginning of the season, but Jackson has had enough of the non-triangle nonsense.
On Thursday, Jackson was active in the Knicks informal team workout to teaching and grooming the guards into learning the triangle, sources told ESPN reporter Ian Begley. Jackson was not on the sidelines teaching, he was hands on and actually on the court with the players.
Via Ian Begley of ESPN:
If you’re looking for more evidence that the Knicks are committed to running the triangle: team president Phil Jackson was teaching some Knicks guards the offense for about a half hour before an informal team workout yesterday, per league sources. It seems clear that Jackson is intent on running the triangle, as sources with knowledge of the workout told ESPN that he was hands on in instructing the offense with Knicks guards before the workout. Jeff Hornacek has acknowledged that the team has run more often triangle lately. He says he welcomes Jackson’s input, but a team president conducting a workout with players is not the norm around the NBA.
Later in the day, head coach Jeff Hornacek confirmed Begley’s report.
It’s odd that with 17 games to go, the president is finally on the court showing the guards what the triangle suppose to look like. The season is winding down and seems like the president is leaning towards tanking and helping out the young guards for the future.
Hornacek said this was a preplanned session with the Knicks guards. Derrick Rose was included after he made a blur statement about running the triangle. Rose is a free agent this offseason and it is unlikely that he will re-sign with New York. After all, a player will not re-sign with a team that he does not feel comfortable running the system or process.
Phil Jackson had the guards working on plays that are deeply in the triangle system.
According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
“He had our guards out there just showing them a couple things that are kind of probably further along in the triangle process than we’re at now that he wanted to show them just to give them an idea of things that could happen.” –Jeff Hornacek
Even though it was only for the guards, Carmelo Anthony was also present.
While the entire season has been unsettling, this news reveals a lot. It now seems as though will not opt out of his contract.
At the same time, Hornacek does not seem to happy that Jackson is trying to remove some of his coachings and putting in his own “options” to the playbook.
“You keep using the word install, Nobody installed anything yesterday. Showed a couple of options.”
Hornacek is possibly being challenged as a head coach by Phil Jackson. Derek Fisher understands his plight as he recently went on SiriusXM NBA Radio and said, “Jackson’s presence and insistence in running the triangle offense also made it challenging for the players to understand who was coaching the team.”
After the practice, Sasha Vujacic spoke to the media about how practice went running the triangle.
“Honestly, it was amazing, it was a really good session. We were told the right things, we were taught the right way and it felt good.”
Sasha Vujacic wasn’t the only player who likes running the triangle. Kristaps Porzingis came out and told the media that he love to run the triangle and it seems as though he’s wanted the team to run the triangle since opening day.
Porzingis talked to some reporters last week about the triangle:
“We’re starting to learn it now the way we should,” Porzingis said, “We should have been playing from the beginning of the season.”
Porzingis believes that every game the Knicks are getting better at this form of offense. Jeff Hornacek has recently turned towards it, likely as a result of Phil Jackson.
“Every game we’re getting a little better, hopefully, I don’t know when we can start using it properly and making some impact playing it,” said Hornacek.
With 18 games to go, Knicks are five-plus games from being a playoff team. Rose lied to the fans, claiming that they were a “super team,” but there’s a positive to this story. New York failures bring us one positive: Phil may work hard now. With all of the rumors of him leaving, perhaps this awful time can lead to a better Phil who actually commits to the team.
This year the Knicks witnessed the lazy version of the president. With knowing that his success as a president comes down to how you change the culture of the New York Knicks, I believe he will step up next season.
The first step of seeing Jackson caring is being “hands on” in practice and more vocal with his team. The next step can be drafting the star talent player that can help this team win more basketball games. Jackson is an 11-time NBA championship head coach. He knows what winning looks like and what it takes to win.
Winning takes time, so sit back Knicks fans and enjoy the Phil Jackson ERA.