But then what? Fixing the chemistry alone won’t bring the Clippers back into title contention. They need a complete X’s and O’s overhaul and a new system to be implemented. Last year, they were a group of individuals taking turns. This year, their best bet is to become a team catered around their superstar player. Luckily, Ty Lue knows just the way to do it.
We have put in two or three sets from the triangle and let Kawhi play in those spaces where Kobe and Jordan played in those spots as well. Kawhi loves those two players. He really respects and looks up to those guys, so we’re just trying to put him in positions [to succeed].Ty Lue, ESPN
Lue was a teammate of both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. He also played under Phil Jackson for a three-year stretch with the Lakers. On paper, he sounds like the right guy to reintroduce triangle offense into the NBA. And not the whole system per se, but only a fraction of it to utilize Kawhi’s mid-range game to the best of his ability.
I think it’s a lost art. I’m a firm believer in, ‘why not work on what teams are giving up?’ Every team wants to give up the midrange shot, the midrange 2s, and why not continue to work on the shots that teams are giving up.Ty Lue, ESPN
Last season, Leonard ranked fourth in total midrange attempts (325), converting 42.8% on those shots. His partner in crime, Paul George, finished the season shooting 37.2% from midrange on 164 attempts. The data on this is clear — the in-between game of the Clippers’ star players, Kawhi in particular, is elite enough for partial implementation of the triangle.
It also works in their favor, given that the Clippers still haven’t addressed their point guard situation. The big advantage of the triangle is that it isn’t dependent on one guy to be the playmaker. Instead, it relies on short, low-demanding passes on a collective level, with an end goal of the ball finding an open man. So instead of one guy making plays, it’s done by the whole team. And given the Clippers roster construction, that may be the best way to do it.
So let’s see if it works. Our first glimpse at it is only a few hours away, against none other than their next-door neighbors wearing purple and gold. The NBA is back and perhaps is the triangle.