5 Teams That Would Be Successful Using The Triangle Offense
The triangle offense carries this mystical component that can often mask the beautiful simplicity of what it has to offer to a basketball team. Of course it looked most glorious when Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant played maestro – they lived to post up, play with their backs to the basket, and operate within particular spaces and angles on the floor that fit ideally within the triangle. Their individual greatness and versatility propelled the triangle offense to it’s peak display, with the proper surroundings of course.
For the record, I do have an affinity for this system because I scored many points using its two-man game looks which we ran in variation during my sophomore year of college. I’ve also spent much of my own time observing the basic philosophies of the triangle offense on the basketball court over the years – the spacing, the cuts, the options, the patience, and the timing. I consider it a very deliberate and disciplined way to play basketball.
So here are five current teams that I think would be successful and effective running the triangle with their personnel. Keep in mind, I’m not factoring in their ability to actually understand the offense, only the likelihood that they would be successful using it’s concepts.
The best way for the triangle to work is when you can operate through your low post players. Memphis has the best combination of an aggressive, savvy, and skilled front court with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who do work as playmakers in the Grizzlies offense. Memphis would also work well in the triangle because they don’t want to rush their offense. They’re naturally interested in creating quality shots for each other and the triangle would be consistent with their desired pace.
I assume Stan Van Gundy is installing the kind of system and structure these Pistons so desperately need, but I would in fact recommend the triangle for Detroit. It could be utilized to the absolute fullest with the front line of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond. Smith and Monroe are skilled enough to make plays in the pinch post areas as scorers and passers, and Drummond wouldn’t have to do anything he hasn’t been doing as a paint presence thus far. Running the triangle would also make it more reasonable to put all three of those guys on the floor at the same time.
I’m mostly thinking about Al Jefferson at the crux of the triangle. His skill set would help his teammates thrive. Even though Charlotte might now be considered more guard-oriented, they’re still at their best when they play inside-out. Cody Zeller and rookie Noah Vonleh would be able to thrive playing off of Jefferson in the triangle. It would help Lance Stephenson find easier ways to score than just toying with the basketball and his defender until he decides what to do next. Two-man game situations with Lance and Al would be extremely useful, and I’ll bet Michael Jordan himself would even be willing to show his team the perks of the system.
San Antonio Spurs
Even though Gregg Popovich has shown us that the Spurs can adapt to a more open and uptempo style of play, I still see this group making great use of the triangle offense. Because of their nature they would make use of it and simply find the ways to keep each other involved. They could work through Tim Duncan in the post and high post of course, but also Tiago Splitter or Boris Diaw, who are also completely comfortable making passes from the high post and on the interior. Kawhi Leonard would be a position-less asset for any look in the triangle and have a Scottie Pippen-like impact on it. Just off the strength of discipline the Spurs might be successful in running any offense, and the triangle is one of them.
Erik Spoelstra’s system isn’t triangle-friendly, but his current roster could be effective in the triangle for several reasons. The Heat have skilled bigs in Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts who can shoot, post, and pass, and unlike most of these current teams, a shooting guard in Dwayne Wade that prefers to operate with post-ups and mid range attack in the half court. Wade would be a great dictator in the triangle and Bosh is ideally fit to be the anchoring post presence as the big. With Miami’s skilled surrounding pieces, it would absolutely work.
What teams do you think would be good in the triangle? Thoughts on the offense in general?