Sacramento Kings: Triangle Offense Could Breathe Life into Hapless Kings

Nick HContributor IOctober 15, 2012

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 18:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings in action against the Indiana Pacers at Power Balance Pavilion on January 18, 2012 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

On paper, the Sacramento Kings look like one of the most promising teams in the NBA. With a solid young core of Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins and 2012 number No. 5 pick Thomas Robinson, the team has potential to improve on their 22-44 record in 2011-12.

The main problem with the Kings is not talent—it's the lack of a system that can allow this group to play as teammates instead of a collection of players. In the last year, the Kings have gone through a midseason coaching change (assistant coach Keith Smart took over for Paul Westphal) and a multitude of different starting lineups.

In order to start winning, the Kings need consistency, and Smart thinks he has the answer.

After seeing the Harlem Globetrotters run elements of the triangle offense in footage from 1943, Smart became inspired. He taught his players the offense when they arrived for training camp and it was used in the Kings' first preseason game, which they won 102-96.

The triangle was popularized by former Lakers and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson, who used it to win 11 coaching titles. It's an offensive system that promotes sharing the ball and player movement.  The offense has the potential to give the Kings a sense of purpose and cohesiveness that they previously lacked.

The problem with the triangle offense is that it requires true dedication to the system and the coaching staff in addition to the intelligence and talent of the players on the floor. NBA legends Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O' Neal all had problems with the way the triangle offense was run, but in the end were able to play both within and without the offense to achieve success.  

Other coaches have tried to use the triangle offense in the NBA with a noticeable lack of success.

If the players believe in the system and Smart is able to teach it expertly, then Sacramento should thrive. If they are consistent, they will come together. If not, it will likely be yet another reset for the Kings organization.