Triangle Basics

The triangle offense has been used in the NBA for almost two decades, yet what actually sets this offense apart from others is rarely discussed.  The triangle is unique because it is not a collection of sets, as most teams run.  The triangle offense is a philosophy, a collection of fundamentals and sound principles.

First and foremost, the triangle is a "read and react" offense.  There is no playbook.  There are no set routes or patterns.  Instead the offense runs as a sequence of options.  Each new pass keys the next set of options.  The players are taught these multiple options and asked to simply take the option that the defense is willing to give to the system.  In this sense, the triangle is very much like a motion offense.

What sets the triangle apart from other motion offenses is that it asks its players to fill certain positions on the floor.

This particular spacing provides the triangle it's name. The classic sideline triangle is formed between:
- the man in the wing (also called the "key" position because the pass made from this position determines the next sequence of options for the offense)
- the corner
- and the post.

The other two positions are known as:
- the weakside wing (the man on the weakside)
- and defensive balance (the man above the top of the key).

The typical triangle formation has the overload (three man triangle) on the strong side of the court (the court with the side of the ball) and the two man game on the weak side.  The triangle offense also has a sequence of options called the "Solo Cut Series"  where the two man game is on the strong side of the court and the overload is on the weak side.

Next: Running the offense