WEST POINT, N.Y. — Jeff Hornacek says he has the freedom to run the triangle offense the way he wants. But Knicks president Phil Jackson scolded the players when they didn’t run it the way he wants.
“He got mad at us one time because we were running the offense and we didn’t throw the ball into the post,” Derrick Rose said after practice Thursday. “He came over, kind of grumpy a little bit. That was my first time ever seeing him like that.”
In the Knicks’ first two practices, Hornacek worked on the transition game and early offense with pick-and-rolls. But he started teaching the players the triangle in Wednesday’s night session. He said he hopes they get to the point that he doesn’t have to call plays and they just read the defense.
Rose, who spent his first eight seasons with the Chicago Bulls, called the offense “complicated” and “foreign.” He had never played it, only against it. Rose is used to having the ball in his hands. He excels in pick-and-roll action, which will be a part of the Knicks’ offense, but the triangle is expected to be their main half-court system.
“It’s complicated a little bit right now because it’s new to us,” Rose said. “It’s foreign. But I think the more we work on it and the way the coaches are putting it into the offense, it’s a little bit easier.
“It’s like 40 to 50 options on one side of the floor. It’s like giving you your space for creativity. It’s like if you’re doing it the right way, you could do everything you want, you could freelance, but you just got to know where you’re going.”
Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, said he eventually will figure it out. In crunch time, though, Rose said he expects the Knicks to run pick-and-rolls with him and Carmelo Anthony.
“At the end of the game or a game-winning shot or something like that, I don’t think it’s going to be the triangle,” Rose said. “Either me or Melo will have to create for someone to take the shot.
“We’ve been running a lot of pick-and-roll. I feel that’s my game, pick-and-roll. Having two people on me, it creates and opens up space for everyone. We’re just trying to make things simple and make the easy offense.”
Rose, a Chicago native, was 9 years old when Jackson coached the Bulls to their sixth and final championship in 1998. Rose said he hasn’t had any conversations with Jackson about the triangle. He expects it to happen, and Rose sounds as if he will do whatever Jackson asks.
“He’s a legend,” Rose said. “He’s like a legend in Chicago. It’s an honor just being around him.
“He’s someone that his resume speaks for itself, all the accolades he achieved and everything. For me to even be in his presence and be a part of what he’s building, I feel like something good is coming my way just by attaching my name with him or being associated with him.”