KNICKS : Triangle not only new X & O Philosophy coming

With Phil Jackson taking over as President of the Knicks , and subsequently hiring his former player Derek Fisher as Head Coach, there has been a ton of talk in New York by fans and media about Phil and Derek installing the “Triangle ” offense as the Knicks half court offensive system, and how it will change the look and potential results of the on court product moving forward.  Positive results and chemistry have already been found offensively with the Triangle in the Las Vegas summer League.

Knick fans and basketball junkies who have watched the small sample of change with Coach Fisher can also see change and or borrow of philosophy on the Defensive end of the floor. Through 4 games, the Knicks have shown that they have adopted the X & O scheme of “ICE” (NBA term ) with sideline ball screens . it is also called “DOWNing” in the college coaching fraternity. In basic terms, what it calls for is a perimeter defender shifting there defensive position to the high side of a ball handler  and squaring their body frame to the sideline….which influences / forces the ball handler away from using the the screen and from the middle of the floor . It sends them down toward the direction of the baseline. “ICE” also calls for the Post defender to flip his help positioning to the baseline, sideline side of the screener .  The intended result is to minimize the amount of space on the floor that the threatening ball handler has to work with, eliminate threatening action into the middle of the floor / lane, take away the “roll” threat to Rim by a Post player in Pick & Roll action (which is most used play in NBA) . “ICE” will almost always force the the Post player to pop out / back to a deep perimeter position.

The Knicks have also shown that they appear to have adopted an extension of “ICE”… to top of the key (middle of floor ) ball screens, by “WALLing” the ball handler away from his intended path of coming off /around the Pick and turning the corner to the other side of floor, which again has an intended purpose of disrupting the traditional action of threatening cuts to the Rim by the screener (Post player ) .  In this action the perimeter defender jumps to the High side of the offensive screener to “Wall off ” the path of the ball handler around the screen.


These Defensive principles have been staples to the overall Defensive strategy of Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls , who have certainly attained a reputation and status as one of the best Defensive teams in the NBA year in year out , despite injuries or roster changes.


ALSO keep an eye out for if and how often the Knicks might try to take away MIddle of the the floor drives with any 1 vs 1’s offset the middle of the floor or on a side. With this a defender by himself will shift their body position enough to “influence” the offensive player to the side or baseline.  This is another staple principle of Thibodeau and the Bulls



Video samples of both “ICE”  & WALLing” are shown below


Move forward to 2:00 mark for “ICE” side Pick & Roll breakdown


clips of Chicago Bulls ICE Ball Screen Defense






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