Carmelo Anthony Explains Why Phil Jackson's Triangle Offense Failed with Knicks

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2017, file photo, New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony looks on during a break in an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia. Phil Jackson may be trying to trade Anthony because he's given up trying to change him. That seemed to be the conclusion when the Knicks president of basketball operations broke his Twitter silence with a tweet that was another dig at the star forward.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Former New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said the triangle offense is difficult to execute in the modern NBA, which is why Phil Jackson's tenure with the organization failed to produce a playoff berth. 

Anthony explained during an appearance on ‎The Old Man and the Three podcast with New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick that Jackson rebuilt to roster with players who could fit the triangle play style, but it failed to deliver the same results it did with the 1990s Chicago Bulls and 2000s Los Angeles Lakers:

"The game is getting faster. Guys are getting quicker. Guys are jumping out the gym. It's like, 'No, we can't slow it down when we got a fast break. We can't play in the two-guard front when we got Derrick Rose and Raymond Felton'—you can't do that.

"... Again, we start slowing the game down. That's where you see guys wasn't comfortable in that situation, and I was one of them."

Anthony said he tried everything to master the triangle, highlighted by reaching out to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant for advice, but while he felt comfortable with the concepts, trying to implement it with the talent (or lack thereof) the Knicks had and the increasing tempo of opponents proved elusive.

He added it was difficult for Jackson to become fully engaged in the process since he was working as the team president while Derek Fisher and Jeff Hornacek served as head coach.

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Here's a look at the complete conversation on the triangle and Jackson's time with the Knicks:

In 2019-20, Anthony enjoyed a resurgent season with the Portland Trail Blazers. Following forgettable stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets after leaving New York, he found a niche as the third offensive option behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

He'll become a free agent once again in the offseason but he'll be hard-pressed to find a better situation than he did with the Blazers at this stage of his standout career.