Phil Jackson is on Twitter fire.
After using his feed to give advice to Kendrick Lamar during the explosion over his "Control" verse, he's now taken to playing up the Triangle Offense. While it's unclear what exactly prompted his two-tweet lesson, Jackson didn't take kindly to suggestions that his system was outdated:
Pundits say triangle is passé. Tired of hearing it used as excuse for players. System basketball takes dedicated coaching basic skills;— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) August 15, 2013
Footwork, passing, reading defense, and team work. The state of bball now is s/roll which is controlled by the dribbler is the easy way out.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) August 15, 2013
What was frowned on was to hold the ball and disrupt the rhythm since players were in motion off-ball, but individual has to be aggressive— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) August 15, 2013
While Jackson's offensive system is anything but basic, he is correct that it can be taught with proper fundamentals. And it's obviously given him quite a bit of success throughout the years, as he's compiled a résumé that few head coaches in any professional sport can hope to match.
Jackson is also quite accurate when he says that the modern-day game is based more on pick-and-roll action (which he calls "s/roll," or screen and roll). The NBA has trended in that direction for a while now, and it's virtually impossible to watch more than a minute of professional basketball without seeing a PnR set run by both teams.
But is that really a bad thing?
Running pick-and-rolls by themselves is a negative. That is a lazy offense, but that's not really what tends to happen for the more sophisticated teams.
Are pick-and-roll offenses the "easy way out"?
The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs both ran PnR offenses and used them to advance to the NBA Finals, but they were complicated versions, ones that thrived on off-ball screens, plenty of movement and sets that were nothing more than distractions.
Calling that style of play "the easy way out" is an interesting way to approach the topic, especially coming from a coach who had the luxury of running plays that featured Michael Jordan and then Kobe Bryant.
I certainly wouldn't call a Triangle Offense "passé." There's no doubt that a coach with players willing to buy into the system could make it work, but the same can be said about almost any offensive style if the personnel matches the idea.
Disparaging one style of offense to prop up another isn't the right way to prove the merits of the Triangle. Perhaps coaching again could do the trick.