Renato Afonso of the Forum Blue & Gold posted a comprehensive breakdown of the triangle offense. Afonso also discussed how the current Los Angeles Lakers fit into the triangle offense.
Each position fills a need of the team, but when the triangle is used to perfection, it doesn’t matter who does what, as long as they occupy their place.
PG: He just has to bring the ball forward and read the defense and the mismatches that exist and exploit them. He should be taller than average not only for defensive purposes but also to allow exploring the weak side early on, allowing the PG to post up with just two passes off the dribble without compromising the play or letting the defense know that that’s the option being used.
SG/SF: They basically have the same role in this offense, with height being the only true difference between them. Since the PG (or ball carrier) chooses the side where the offense starts, playing the SG or the SF is a matter of choice or design (or luck) on each and every play.
PF: The most important player in this offense — a team playing the triangle offense without a PF able to rebound and hit the mid-range jump shot consistently won’t win (unless competition really sucks, which is not the case here).
C: Since the offense was originally designed for a quality big man inside, no further explanation is needed here.
How It Works
This offense allows great flexibility on every move or cut, allowing multiple options at all times. Of course, once every player has an option during the offensive motion, the triangle efficiency is proportional to the basketball IQ of the players on court. And that’s the reason why it takes a long time to learn and why Phil Jackson prefers seasoned vets over young guns — and the intangibles as well.
The real key is simple — whenever a pick is set, the player in motion has the option to make a small curl towards the basket allowing him to take an easy mid-range jump shot. So, the players better be good at it. (Editors note: Think about how many times MJ did that.)
What The Lakers Have
PG: For starters, the Lakers have the guards with high basketball IQ and ability to read the game. They might not be the best at it, but they are pretty capable. Maybe they lack some consistent three-point shooting touch, but we don’t have a glaring need at the spot now. Farmar might develop really well into the system.
SG: Kobe. He should rely more on the play and use the picks more wisely with better shot selection. But hey, the man does have some skill. Evans is a decent backup, although his jump shot could be better. No harm done here.
SF: Luke Walton is the perfect triangle player. Nothing else needs to be said. Radmanovic should fit perfectly as a backup, if he ever understands the system.
PF: Lamar Odom is the biggest asset we have in this system. The PF spot allows the player to play inside when he has the advantage or to draw the defender outside if he’s physically stronger. Should Lamar convince himself of the bonus his versatility brings to the offensive motion when spotting up near the top of the key on the weak side and maybe the Lakers could reach higher levels. Turiaf brings intensity on both ends, which is more than enough.
C: Mihm is nothing but a great (one of the best backups offensively) backup. Kwame doesn’t have real low post skill. Bynum is not matured yet (third year leap coming, probably).
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