Friday, April 8, 2011

Forming the Triangle

In today's post, we will go over some of the ways to form the distinctive sideline triangle that gives the Triangle Offense its name.

In the past week, the Lakers have suffered a three game skid.  Whenever these types of losing streaks occur, it's a good time to shift gears and get back to the basics.

- Strongside entry, strongside fill:
This is the first way that is taught to get into the triangle.  The lead guard Derek Fisher makes the "Number 1 Pass" to the strongside wing, Pau Gasol.  After making the strongside entry, Fisher immediately cuts to fill the strong side corner.

Pau makes a two pass to the top (before Fisher fills the corner) so Ron Artest pops to the pinch post and receives the ball.  Artest misses the layup but Andrew Bynum is ready to gather the miss.  Bynum kicks the ball out for a repost.  He and Fisher form a solo and Bynum finishes with the help of a soft roll.

The lead guard isn't the only player that can fill the corner:

- Weakside Guard Fill:
Shannon Brown is the lead guard and he makes the strongside entry.  This time, the off guard Steve Blake goes to fill the corner and Brown settles in at defensive balance.  The two pass the post is made with an action zone speed cut.  Odom frees up the third cutter, Matt Barnes.  Bynum, who is out of the lane, correctly acts as a feeder before thinking of scoring and hits Barnes for the easy floater.

- Weakside Wing Fill:
Steve Blake is the lead guard.  As Bynum heads down the floor, he signals for Lamar Odom to cut.  Odom, who was the weakside wing, goes to fill the corner.  The two pass the top is made and Brown launches an ill-advised long medium jumper early in the shot clock.

- Dribble Entry:
Steve Blake is the lead guard.  As he pushes the ball, Brown runs to fill the wing position but Blake dribbles directly to the wing position.  This dribble entry pushes Brown to the corner.  Odom is able to fight and seal his man allowing for a two pass to the post.  Odom uses his defender's aggression against him and is able to quickly gather and finish.

In this clip, the corner is already filled so Odom is able to dribble into the wing position.  A two pass to the top is made and the ball is entered into the pinch post.  Bynum makes a good shuffle pass and uses his body as a screen during the pass.  Blake comes back around after a pick and roll and a new triangle is formed.  The ball is passed to Odom in the corner who gets the ball to Kobe in the post.  Kobe easily rises and hits a jumper over the mismatched Monta Ellis.

- Guard Dribble Series:
In this clip we see Fisher signal for the guard dribble series.  A strongside entry to Artest is made but Fisher cuts on the outside of Artest to receive a handoff and fill the corner with the ball.  Artest makes his banana cut and Gasol decides to come over to fill the post forming a new triangle. The ball is then swung up top which acts as a two pass to the top.  Artest comes to the pinch post but Bynum cuts across the lane for a solo instead of running a rebound screen cut.  Kobe, instead of cutting off Artest, goes to screen for Pau who drills the spot up jumper.

- Center Opposite:
This time Shannon Brown is the lead guard.  At the moment of truth, Odom is being denied so Brown lag passes to Blake and Luke Walton pops out to receive the ball at the wing position on the other side of the floor.  Brown cuts to fill the corner as the center, Bynum, stays opposite to set a rub screen for Odom to fill the post.  The defense leaves Bynum to deny Odom post position so Walton makes a two pass to the backdoor step.  Bynum makes a great read and delivers the high-low pass to Odom who is able to skillfully finish the one handed banker.

- Pick and Roll:
When Kobe is the lead guard, he often dribbles to the wing position and awaits for Gasol to run a pick and roll.  The defense shifts over to help on the pick and roll so Kobe passes the ball to Fisher in the wing.  Fisher quickly passes to Bynum, who uses his defenders momentary desire to help against the pick and roll to acquire deep post position.  Bynum is able to catch and shoot in one swift motion.

Despite the concerted efforts of opponents, the offense's various ways to establish and form the sideline triangle allows for consistent penetration of the defense.  This penetration forces the defense to choose to either: aggressively deny the post (leaving the two pass to the top and its various options open), force a double team to come (leaving the defense scrambling and vulnerable), or leave a single defender one on one against one of the many skilled post players the Lakers have to offer.


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