Will Triangle Offense Help Reboot Iman Shumpert's Stalled NY Knicks Career?

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterAugust 28, 2014

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Nobody on the New York Knicks needs a bigger change than Iman Shumpert. It's been getting hard to watch. 

And it's frustrating—because you know he can do better than 6.7 points per game on 37.8 percent shooting. You just don't get progressively worse from your first to third NBA season—not after the promise he flashed as an impact two-way rookie—unless something clearly isn't right. 

In this case, it's been Shumpert's role and fit in the offense that's forced him to play to his weaknesses as a shot creator. 

Through passing and off-ball action, the triangle offense, which will be implemented by Phil Jackson and taught by new head coach Derek Fisher, should help create cleaner looks for players who otherwise struggle to create themselves.

It should also eliminate over-dribbling, one-on-one basketball and low-percentage looks. It's all about movement—not just the ball, but the players—as well as spacing and angles. The Knicks finished ranked No. 28 in the NBA last year in assists, a reflection of just how stagnant their offense really was.

Shumpert explained the new system and its perks to Ian Begley and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York:

The way it's set up, you can start three guards, it really doesn't matter. Everybody's going to get touches, everybody gets opportunities to cut. It's constant action going on. So I think that I'll be able to capitalize on that and I'll be able to use my athleticism a lot more than standing in the corner.

With the triangle, the goal is that the ball finds the player in scoring position, as opposed to Mike Woodson's offense, which frequently forced the player to have to create his own scoring opportunities.

This is good news for Shumpert, who's at his best slashing and spotting up from outside—not falling away for a step-back or crossing over into a pull-up jumper.

The triangle should increase and ultimately create more scoring opportunities for Shumpert in the areas of the game he thrives in.

On one side of the floor, you have your triangle, which opens up lanes and angles for players to pass and cut through.

MSG, Las Vegas Summer League

MSG, Las Vegas Summer League

Once a player cuts through, he then sets a screen for someone else and eventually rotates around. Like Shumpert said, you won't see him camping out as much while Carmelo Anthony goes to work. 

On the other half of the floor, there is plenty of space with only two players occupying the entire weak side. 

MSG, Las Vegas Summer League

A quick ball reversal could open up opportunities in the two-man game (with plenty of space to operate in), whether it's a pick-and-roll, dribble handoff or a backdoor cut:

Given his skill set and athleticism, Shumpert could really flourish as one of the Knicks' cutters, slashers or drivers in the triangle or two-man game. 

ESPN's Begley noted how Shumpert could fill the Ron Harper role—another big guard who fit the triangle as an opportunistic playmaker for Phil Jackson in Chicago. Don't forget Shump ran the point in college, and at 6'5", he has the size and versatility to operate from multiple spots on the floor. 

From an X's and O's standpoint, the new system sure seems to favor Shumpert on paper. However, it's the fresh sense of hope it offers that might ultimately help reignite his confidence.

It's a change. No more showing up at work to follow the same instructions and routes that he'd been struggling to convert into consistent production. 

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 6: Iman Shumpert #21 of the New York Knicks shoots against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during a game on April 6, 2014 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by down
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This triangle should help breathe some new life into Shumpert, who has seemingly lost his sense of purpose at the offensive end. 

The Knicks don't need him to go out there and drop 20. Shump is at his best when he's active and that adrenaline is pumping. It leads to on-ball steals, putback slams and points in bunches off jumpers.

And this new triangle offense is going to keep him more involved.

The Knicks weren't able to add much this offseason, though the Jose Calderon pickup is a significant upgrade. Still, an effective Shumpert would go a long way for a lineup deprived of two-way players and reliable complementary scorers.

And maybe a completely new system is just what he needs to reboot his stalled career in New York.