clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Triangulatin': How the Knicks build a strong-side pick-and-roll

Last week, we looked at how the weak side of the Triangle offense can create easy baskets off backdoor "blind pig" cuts to the rim. Let's look at something else the Knicks tried (with limited success) Monday night against the Bucks.

If you go back and look at the post linked above, I think it's easy to see where pick-and-rolls could take place on the weak side of the floor. If, in this instance, Tim Hardaway Jr. was under less pressure and received the ball up top instead of while cutting, he'd be in perfect position to receive a ball screen from Amar'e Stoudemire.

Though the pick-and-roll fits most naturally in the weak side of the Triangle, and though Derek Fisher has said things like this...

"Our penetration won't come off of pick-and-roll as it does 98 percent of the league but it will come off of interior passes and we have a lot of guys that we can put on the post to get penetration," the coach said.

...there are still pick-and-roll opportunities to be had within the sideline triangle itself. I have examples!

Here's a set from the second quarter:


Pablo Prigioni has already dribbled the ball up the floor, left it for Iman Shumpert (the Triangle's No. 1 pass), and filled to the strong-side corner to create the triangle. Shump ran through some check-downs-- he tried for a bit to get the ball onto the weak side and set Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. up for some two-man fun-- and now he's decided to pass to the corner. (In Triangle terms, this is the fourth option for the No. 2 pass.)

Roll tape. Roll tape. Louis, roll the damn tape:

Okay. Shump passes, then cuts to get out of the way. Jason Smith gives Shump a quick screen, then turns back toward Pablo where-- Hey! A side pick-and-roll! Nothing much comes of it, but Smith would have had a wide open jumper if Pablo didn't ignore him, and he would have had a decent look at the rim had he rolled. That's how a sideline triangle morphs into a simple two-man pick-and-roll.

Here it is again! This is an identical set from earlier in the game, now with Melo behaving like a center. Roll tape, Louis. LOUIS. ROLL TAPE. I'm sorry, guys. Never hire an otter to be your tape intern. Is he...are you eating an oyster at work? I swear this guy is the laziest, most incompetent...I'm sorry. Just please roll the tape, Louis.

Thank you, Louis.

After Shane Larkin makes the No. 1 pass to the wing, he fills to the corner to create the triangle. Shumpert fakes a few entry passes to Melo (first option for the No. 2 pass), then decides to pass to the corner (fourth) option and clear out. Melo gives Shump a half-assed screen as a parting gift, then screens for the ball-handling Larkin. This side pick-and-roll gets the Knicks a switch (though not really a beneficial one, height-wise), and as Larkin decides to retreat instead of penetrate over the pick, it gets Melo a nice, deep post-up with room to operate. He ended up backing down Khris Middleton and getting a great look at the rim, though I don't think it dropped because Melo was sleepy.

So! To summarize: I suspect most of the Knicks' relatively few pick-and-rolls will live on the weak side of the floor, where guys are perpetually waiting to engage the two-man game. However, the Triangle's fourth option-- a pass to the point guard in the corner-- can turn into a side pick-and-roll with a simple clear-out and screen. It's one of many ways the Knicks can get penetration and quality touches for their big men. We like those things, don't we, Louis? Louis is nodding.