Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goodbye Triangle, hello Hall of Fame

  In the summer of 1990, the Chicago Bulls had been dismissed from the playoffs by Detroit’s Bad Boy Pistons for the third consecutive time.  Things looked particularly bleak for the Bulls in the point guard match up that pitted the slow footed, sound shooting John Paxson against the lighting quick, smiling blur of Isiah Thomas.  Phil Jackson, second year head coach of the Bulls, had a solution in mind.  He wanted to lighten Paxson’s load by implementing a system offense that didn’t require a dominant ball handler.  Fortunately for the Bulls, they happened to have an architect for just this kind of offense on hand.

    In the fall of 1990, Tex Winter was keeping a watchful eye over drills during the Bulls training camp.  Eventually his eyes landed on one Michael Jeffrey Jordan holding a basketball.  The “SPEC-TA-CU-LAR” Jordan could get to any spot on the floor, get a shot off from inconceivable angles, could leap out of Chicago Stadium in a single bound, and that season would go on to win his second MVP and first NBA championship.  But as Winter watched the ball leave Jordan’s hands, Tex’s eyes became filled with disappointment.  For all of his worldly talents, Michael Jordan could not pass the ball.  Not in the sense that Jordan lacked court vision.  Not even in the sense that Jordan was an over dribbling, over penetrating ball hog.  No, Tex Winter’s disappointment stemmed from the fact that Michael Jordan could not throw a technically sound chest pass.  Last season, the Bulls had used some parts of Winter’s offense.  This season would mark the first time an NBA team would embrace the entire scope of the Triangle Offense.  However, Winter had to do one thing before he could implement the storied offense - teach Michael Jordan how to throw a proper chest pass.