Triangle-offense was invented by the Hall-of-Fame coach Sam Berry but further developed by Tex Winter and Phil Jackson. Jackson heavily relied on the system using it with every team he ever won a championship, either the Chicago Bulls from the ’90s or Los Angeles Lakers in the ’00s. Triangle proved it worked, and even though some players didn’t like playing within the system, superstars like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant adopted it and saw it’s benefits on the court.
According to Phil Jackson, the biggest fan of the triangle was Kobe Bryant, who loved the unpredictability this system brings because the opposing players usually didn’t know what they were going to do next. In his book Eleven Rings. The Soul of Success, Jackson elaborates why the system works and how he was able to adjust it for every team he coached.
“Our teams were hard to play against because the opposition didn’t know what we were going to do. Why? Because We didn’t know what we were going to do from moment to moment. Everybody was reading and reacting to each other. It was a great orchestra.”Kobe Bryant, via Eleven Rings. The Soul of Success
Jackson also explained the biggest misconception surrounding the triangle, that it only works if you have big superstars on the team like Bryant and Jordan. In contrast to popular belief, Jackson explained that the system was actually designed to benefit the teams with players who often can’t create shots from themselves. Triangle served best the teams who are lacking enough talent on the offensive end of the floor.
“There are all kinds of misconceptions about the triangle. Some critics believe that you need to have players of Michael and Kobe’s caliber to make it work. Actually, the reverse is true. The triangle wasn’t designed for superstars, who will find ways to score no matter the system you use, but for all the other players on the team who aren’t capable of creating their own shots. It also gives every player a vital role in the offense, whether they end up shooting or not.”Phil Jackson, via Eleven Rings. The Soul of Success
Several other stars in the NBA didn’t appreciate running the triangle, simply because some of them weren’t able to understand the system’s movement and they would often say it diminishes the creativity on the court. It’s safe to mention Phil Jackson proved everyone they are wrong by winning 11 NBA championships with Bulls and the Lakers. They often used a triangle combined with other tactical solutions implemented for each of those teams specifically to their need.