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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / December 17.
  • Knicks are retaining elements of the triangle, but plan to ‘open up’ offense

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    TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — The Knicks will retain some elements of the triangle offense, but plan to “open it up” offensively.

    That was the gist of comments from head coach Jeff Hornacek on Tuesday, the first day of training camp at the team’s training facility.

    After Kristaps Porzingis said the Knicks were still using “elements of the triangle” in the post-Phil Jackson Era, Hornacek conceded it was true.

    “I mean you guys asked that all of last year, those are basketball actions,” Hornacek said. “You know, if you’re going to throw the ball into the post guy and run some split action and you guys want to call it triangle, that’s basketball. So yeah, there’s some of that we ran last year but that’s, again, that’s just basketball stuff.”

    Porzingis, who figures to the face of the team and the main go-to guy now that Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the Thunder, mentioned the team was using aspects of the triangle.

    “From the first practice that we did now, we actually had some stuff from the triangle,” Porzingis said. “So we’ll see going forward what we’re going to do. But I saw some elements from the triangle. It’s always good to know an offense that has worked in the past and it’s always good for everybody, even if we’re not playing it.

    “We worked on it a little bit today and probably going forward we’re going to do some things with the triangle. I think it’s going to be good for everybody to know that.”

    Still, Hornacek said he plans to play a more up-tempo offense similar to what he ran in Phoenix.

    “I think we’re going to try to open it up,” he said. “Obviously the strength of our team should allow us to do that. Guys like KP can be outside, guys like Courtney [Lee] , Tim [Hardaway Jr.], guys like Willy [Hernangomez] and Enes [Kanter] can get the ball inside, so we think we can spread the floor out a little bit more and maybe get up and down the court a little bit more. Put some pressure on the defense that way. But again, all that stuff’s going to start and probably only work so well if we can lock down defensively.”

    Lee said he likes the new offense.

    “One thing I do know is we’re going to play faster,” Lee said. “That’s one thing they’ve been stressing is to make sure we’re in shape. We’re going to get out and run people and we’re going to wear on teams. The pace of the game is definitely going to be faster.”

    Hornacek said the team may look to shoot a few more three-pointers as well.

    “Yeah, we’d like to get more of those, transition, those are where you can get open looks, keep trying to grind it out every time,” he said. “That makes it tough. For us to get out in the open court, we’ve got guys that are smart players. I think, when we do kick it out if they don’t have the shot they can penetrate, some of those guys are really good in terms of, “Ok, do I have the shot?’ Yes. Do I shoot it? If not then I drive it in.”

    Hornacek said the ultimate goal is to get more easy shots.

    “We probably just didn’t get enough easy shots [last year],” he said. “We shot 44 percent as a team. If we can kick that up to 46 percent and mix in a few more 3s, now you’re getting a couple more points, maybe you’re getting the chance to set your defense up better so it kind of all goes hand in hand.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.