Phil Jackson’s triangle offense would feature pick-and-roll sets

One of the persisting concerns about Mike Brown’s Princeton-based offense involved whether it constricted the Lakers’ immense talent.

Among the criticisms: Steve Nash couldn’t run pick-and-roll as much; the Lakers looked more confused on offense trying to understand the various reads and counters; the Lakers started the plays too late in the shot clock.

Even though Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak didn’t criticize the offense directly, he admitted the Lakers’ general confusion and inconsistent improvement played a large part in the team’s 1-4 start and Brown’s ultimate firing.

Should the Lakers hire Phil Jackson in what would be his third head-coaching stint with them, would the players experience a similar learning curve with the triangle offense?

“Are you doubting the Zen Master?” Kobe Bryant asked.

Bryant has a point. Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Steve Blake have already played for Jackson. World Peace experienced learning curves when the former Ron Artest joined the Lakers in the 2009-10 season, but that amounted more to adjusting his offensive role than knowing the concepts. More importantly, Jackson’s triangle offense features plenty of pick-and-roll sets that would tap into Nash’s playmaking abilitie
Jackson’s triangle offense didn’t require his point guards to handle the ball much. It’s why Derek Fisher’s point guard weaknesses didn’t matter too much within the system. But the offense caterss to specific player skillsets. And when it comes to Nash, he could run pick-and-roll all he wants in the triangle so long as the Lakers have consistent ball movement, spacing and player movement. One element that could make the triangle offense easier for Nash than the Princeton-based offense: he wouldn’t have to decided at the beginning of the play which set would run. The pick-and-roll sets would work within the framework ahead of time.

Meanwhile, Dwight Howard should have no problem picking up on the triangle considering the center spot is considered the easiest position to learn in that system. The Princeton-based offense pulled Howard away from the basket and exposed his poor passing skills. The triangle offense, which is also called the triple-post offense, emphasizes frequently for players to operate in the post and give frontcourt players plenty of touches. That enables the proper spacing and ball movement the system emphasizes.

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