The Demise of the Triangle Offense

Cock of the WalkContributor IJuly 4, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06:  Ron Artest #96 of the Houston Rockets talks with referee Bill Spooner as Artest is held back by teammate Aaron Brooks #0 before Artest was ejected in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, 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 Harry How/Getty Images)

As a Cavs fan, and subsequently a small-market fan, I was obviously a bit perturbed that Artest spurned the Cavs for LA when, according to Brian Windhorst, both teams were offering the same amount of MONEY.

Then, as usual, I got to eating McNuggets, drinking Scotch and texting NBA with my buddy, and I realized that while it may not have been fair for the Cavs, for whom Artest would have been the perfect fit, it doesn't necessarily create a utopia for LA LA Land either.

Phil Jackson ran the triangle less than ever in his coaching career with the Lake Show this year, typically in favor of cow-towing to Kobe's ego and the pick n roll.  It worked because everybody was willing to buy into doing that when Kobe desired.

The only reason that environment existed on that team, though, was because everybody had been playing with Kobe for more than a year at that point.

Not to mention, Phil was able to fall back on the Triangle to make sure things didn't fall apart when Kobe was out of the game (otherwise the Lake Show would have looked like the Cavs did in the opening five minutes of the second and fourth quarters—trust me).

Bare with me here, but I think Artest actually makes the Lakers second unit weaker.

Artest may be able to create shots for himself and make some of those shots, but at the same time, he is a ball-stopper who only shoots a mediocre percentage from the field.

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All those second unit plays that run through Pau Gasol and turn into high-percentage shots inside for him or open jumpers for the perimeter guys...those plays are going to occasionally get interrupted by Ron Ron and will result in contested jumpers and forced passes.

I just don't see the triangle surviving Ron Ron.  The only question to me is whether it ends with a bang (somebody calling him out for breaking off from triangle plays) or a whimper (the Lake Show just falling into step with the fact that Ron Ron will not always let the triangle run its course).

I love Ron Ron and love what he brings to the table for teams looking to take the next step, but for a team that is already set in its ways, I wonder if he and the team can adapt to one another over the course of just one season.  And for the Lake Show, that's the point.  He is a win-now move; not a win in 2011 move.

It's going to be interesting because for all the possible faults I pointed out, Ron Ron is completely unpredictable and Phil Jackson is the greatest personality coach of all time.

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