New York Knicks: The Triangle Offense Isn't for Point Guards Like Derrick Rose
Mar 14, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) shoots over Indiana Pacers guard Jeff Teague (44) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose doesn’t fit in with the triangle offense, and it’s not a surprise. Players like him don’t.

The youngest MVP in NBA history and former franchise player was cast aside by his hometown Chicago Bulls last summer. Derrick Rose is currently with the New York Knicks where he is enjoying the limelight and the ability to perform for one of the craziest crowds in NBA history.

This is the first time since 2012 he ever played through a full season without a significant injury. He is averaging 32 minutes per game (highest since the torn ACL). Rose is back on the court consistently, but New York offense is not bringing out his maximum potential.


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New York is running a triangle system offense, like the one developed by former Kansas State head coach Tex Winter. Winter went on as an assistant coach to Phil Jackson Chicago Bulls team. The triangle had a lot of success when Jackson coached it in the NBA.

According to Coach Clip Board, “the basic structure of the offense is the ‘sideline triangle’ on one side of the floor, and a ‘two-man game’ on the weak side. The sideline triangle is formed by a post player on the block and two perimeter players, one in the corner and one on the wing, and can be set up on either side of the court.”

This does not fit the style of Derrick Rose play.


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Rose is averaging 17.7 PPG shooting 46.5 percent (highest since 2009) and dished out 4.4 assists per game. He is often used as the third scoring option on the team, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are the one/two scoring option. New York triangle offense needs a pass first point guard, and as I have said before, Rose is not a pass first PG.

Although he gets his teammates involved, he has never been that Ricky Rubio, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul point guard that has the mentality to get the players involved first for “every” possession. That is not Derrick Rose. Rose is fierce, dynamic, scoring/penetrating point guard who draws defenders towards him every time he goes to the basket.

The Knicks are trying to make the former MVP run an offense that he can learn, but will not be 100% successful.

“I felt we had a sense of the triangle when we came out of camp,” Rose said. “I pick up things quick. Me being gone away at trial was a problem. You just pass the ball to the top and run to the corner. How hard could that be? That’s not hard at all.”

Rose draws attention, and by attention, I mean defenders, every time he goes to the basket. This allows him to go up for a tough layup but forces him to pass the ball out — which is how he averages most of his assist — and find one of his teammates for the open jumper on the corner or top of the key. That’s terrible offense, but everyone knows that the triangle can be beautifully done when it’s executed properly.

Now, I’m not saying Rose isn’t fit for the triangle because anyone can learn how to run this complex offense but they have to be willing to give up some offensive habits and become more patient and a little more free ready to pass the ball around.

The Triangle involves a lot of cutting, passing, screens, and high Bball IQ and most of all, PATIENCE. The starting five for the NYK is not patient enough to do this, but the second group, however, is.

Rose is a great cutter, he’s fast, he is now developing a nice consistent elbow jump shot at the free-throw line, and he is becoming a more poised player. But because of his style of play and his recent history with coaching under the same coach for four to five years, he will not be efficient in running the Triangle offense for Knicks.

The Knicks all have issues, but Rose is not most of the problem. He does not fit that system. He does not have the mindset of a typical passing point guard.

Rose wants to get buckets and by that being said, he isn’t going to just settle for passing the rock all day without driving to the basket at least 10 to 11 times in one game.


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Rose is a scorer, he is a go-to player, as he was with the Chicago Bulls. He isn’t going to set screens all day in offense, roll, cut, and pass till there is an open man. He is going to pick and roll with his big, drive to the basket, look for an open man on the perimeter, pass the ball if necessary, zoom his way through every fast break and make plays through the quickly exerted offense. He is a scoring point guard who needs to be on a team where the pace is never slow.

Rose is easier to defend according to Pacers point guard Jeff Teague. Teague told Marc Berman that it is simpler to defend Rose because the triangle isn’t for penetrating point guards like Rose.

“I never played in the triangle,’’ Teague told The Post before facing the Knicks on Tuesday at the Garden. “I don’t know too much about it – just from guarding it years in the past. So I recognize it.’’

Is it difficult to guard? Teague laughed.

“Not really,’’ Teague said. “I’m not saying you can’t defend it. I think a player like Rose, it gives you a better chance of containing him.” – via Marc Berman.

The triangle system is not bringing out the full potential Rose we are used to seeing. However, it was some games where New York used Jeff Hornacek up-tempo hybrid offense, and Rose flourished well in it on some games.

If Derrick Rose like running the triangle then you will expect to see him signing with the Knicks in the offseason, if not he will likely be elsewhere.

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19 Years Old, from Chicago, IL. NBA writer for EliteSportsNY and RealBallInsider. MLB writer for ROBaseball. Sports Writer for The Communicator Newspaper. Co-Host on Sports Show “SportsSanity” blogtalkradio.com/sportssanity