GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Knicks president Phil Jackson was back on the court Thursday, coaching the guards on options they can run out of the triangle offense.
Coach Jeff Hornacek said Jackson will “pop out there” and show the players different things “once a month.” But Hornacek said this was a planned session with all of the guards, including Derrick Rose, to look for different reads within the triangle.
“He had our guards out there just showing them a couple things that are kind of probably further along in the triangle process than we’re at now,” Hornacek said after practice Friday. “It was just a couple new things that he had the guards just kind of go through. I wouldn’t call it a triangle session. It was more for the guards to work together.”
Hornacek said he and Jackson spoke earlier in the week about “doing a little session like that.” The fact that half the team was brought in on a day off to work on the triangle with Jackson is further evidence that it will continue to be the Knicks’ offense.
It’s also a sign that Jackson, who can opt out of his contract this summer, plans to remain the Knicks’ president.
Hornacek said Jackson showed the guards “five things” Thursday and that he doesn’t know if they will get to them during the final 17 games. Still, it’s odd for a president to be this hands-on and could be viewed as Jackson stepping on Hornacek’s toes.
The coach said he welcomes the input, but he bristled when he was asked about Jackson “installing” things in the offense.
“You keep using the word install,” Hornacek said. “Nobody installed anything yesterday. Showed a couple of options.
“When you play basketball, there are so many things you can do. They are not options where you’re saying, ‘OK, this play, you’re going to go into this option.’ It’s more of reads that guys get; ‘OK, I can do that.’ Phil always says there’s nothing really you do wrong as long as you stay in that basic concept of three guys on one side and two on the other.”
Jackson, who won 11 titles whle running the triangle, wants the Knicks to master the system. After last season, he and then-interim coach Kurt Rambis ran a two-day triangle clinic.
Since returning from the All-Star break, the Knicks, who will face the Pistons on Saturday, have run the triangle more than they did earlier in the season. The perception is that Jackson is making Hornacek run the triangle, given that he never played in it or coached it before being hired last June.
Former Knicks coach Derek Fisher told Bleacher Report in January that Jackson’s presence and insistence on running the triangle made it challenging for players to understand who was coaching the team. Another former Knicks coach, Larry Brown, told SiriusXM NBA Radio recently that if Jackson wants to run the triangle, he should coach the team.
Hornacek seems to be getting tired of talking about the triangle, but he said Jackson’s in put is helpful. “We’ve covered a lot of things,’’ he said, “but there’s a lot of things you can do in the triangle offense that usually takes a year or two to do. We’re still trying to do some of the basic stuff as well as we can.”
Sasha Vujacic, who won two championships while playing under Jackson, spoke glowingly of the triangle and being taught by Jackson again. “Honestly, [it was] amazing,’’ he said. “It was a really good session. We were told the right things, we were taught the right way and it felt good.
“We’re talking about Phil. His record speaks for itself. Just to have him there and seeing the young guys and the other guys just being amazed by it. The way he talked to them, for me, I’ve seen that before.
“You can take someone trying to teach you something for years, months, whatever, and then you have someone like that that in half an hour explains things that might be a spaceship to other people. So it was amazing.”
Hornacek didn’t seem concerned about the players having to listen to too many voices because he said Jackson isn’t calling any plays.
“If he said, ‘This is the play you need to run, or this should be the set . . . ,’ ” Hornacek said. “He’s not doing any of that. He’s just giving different options than what we’re showing the guys.
“This is a little more kind of advanced, couple options. Just so they see it and they have it in the back of their heads. It’s good to kind of put that out there so when we do get to it at some point, whether it’s this year or next year, they’ll have seen it at least.”
Knicks scout passes away. Longtime Knicks scout Ben Jobe has died at the age of 84. “Ben Jobe will be sorely missed,” Knicks general manager Steve Mills said in a statement. “His wisdom, perspective and honesty were just a few of the traits that made him a great member of the Knicks family.”