Phil Jackson is on a book tour. Perhaps you heard his comparison of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in which North Dakota’s favorite son embraces his midwestern roots and passive-aggressively rips Bryant for, among other things, being Kobe Bryant.
Anyway, there were some interesting subjects touched upon during his recent Chicago stop of the tour. Former Wolves beat writer Steve Aschburner was there and among his observations about the break-up of the Bulls before the lockout 1999 season he mentioned an offense that has been run down a bit the past few years, and for good reason by Wolves fans, in particular.
Still, the idea of a basketball operations gig in Seattle – said to be Jackson’s for the taking, had entrepreneur Chris Hansen wrested the Kings out of Sacramento – holds great appeal. And for a very personal reason: “The sideline triangle offense that we promoted all those years and thought was such a fine system has really been denigrated over the last three or four seasons,” he said.
Never mind Kurt Rambis‘ failure in Minnesota or the half-baked versions tried briefly elsewhere, Jackson said. “A lot of people point to all those situations and the triangle as too difficult to run and too difficult an offense for present-day NBA basketball. And I don’t think it’s true,” he said. “Basketball is still basketball. The princples of offense are still the same. And there’s a group of people who would be willing to listen to that.”
Something Jackson loved about that offense – or maybe just his special place in the game, after tutelage from assistant coach Tex Winter, as its biggest proponent – was the buy-in it required from all involved. “One bonus about triangle offense,” he said, “it wasn’t a coach telling player what to do. It was about system, a standard to live up to.”