As the Knicks were getting some extra shots up after practice, Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson sat on the scorer’s table talking. The new coach said the team president wasn’t telling him to run the triangle more, and he’s somewhat surprised he hasn’t.
Hornacek said he hasn’t run it much in the Knicks’ first two preseason games, and that he’s not sure how much he will run it. Hornacek said Jackson has given him triangle pointers here and there, but for the most part, he’s been “hands off.”
When Jackson fired Derek Fisher last season, he cited a lack of communication as one of the reasons and made it clear that he wanted him to run the triangle more. “Phil’s been great,” Hornacek said after Sunday’s practice at Madison Square Garden. “He’s not trying to take over and make us do anything. He’s given us the leeway.
“There are some things that we do that aren’t the triangle stuff. Our early stuff that quite honestly we thought he would say, ‘Let’s not do that.’ Or ‘let’s not do that option.’ But he hasn’t said that at all.”
Hornacek is trying to get the Knicks to run more, play faster and utilize pick-and-rolls because Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzin gis excel in that maneuver. He said he’ll use the triangle out of timeouts or after dead balls, and in the half-court if their early offense isn’t working.
But the triangle offense remains unpopular in NBA circles outside of Jackson’s world.
ESPN analyst and former point guard Chauncey Billups recently said he doesn’t think the Knicks are a playoff team and added, “They have a very bad system — the triangle.”
Anthony, Billups’ former teammate with the Denver Nuggets, has gone on record that he doesn’t like saying the word.
Hornacek acknowledged that it’s not a popular offense in today’s NBA, and he plans to blend “triangle aspects” with his faster-paced scheme.
“If it slows you down, I think that’s where most guys are probably coming from,” Hornacek said. “You end up being a slow-down team and never get easy buckets, and you’re running that half-court set all the time. First of all, guys don’t like to run it. Secondly, it makes it very difficult to get easy buckets early in the offense. And I think in today’s game, those early buckets are nice to get. So we’re not running it every time. We’re mixing it in here and there.
“It’ll be game to game, and it’s great that we keep working on it because if we get to a point where our early offense isn’t very good some nights, we can slow it down and run that. Or vice versa, our early offense is killing a team, we don’t necessarily have to go to it.”
Noah practices. Joakim Noah, who missed the first two preseason games, went through practice fully for the first time since injuring his left hamstring Oct. 1. He’s still not expected to play in Monday night’s preseason game against the Wizards at the Garden. Noah said he’s shooting for the preseason game against the Celtics on Saturday.
“I think we’re just going to practice some more and get ready for the Saturday one,” Noah said. “It feels a lot better. I still feel like I have another gear I have to get to, but overall I feel pretty good.”
The Knicks also won’t have Derrick Rose. He remains in Los Angeles for his sexual assault civil trial, which resumes tomorrow.