Looking for an offense that will allow your players to react to what the defense gives them but that has more structure than motion offense? If so, you’re in GREAT company. There were a few other fairly successful coaches who were looking for the same thing and they settled on the Triangle Offense. You might want to know that among those fairly successful coaches were 11 time NBA Champion Phil Jackson, nine time NCAA Champion Geno Auriemma, and eight time NCAA Champion Pat Summitt.
The Triangle Offense (also called the “Triple Post Offense”) got its name from the sideline triangle that characterizes the offense. This triangle is formed in the diagram by players 1, 3, and 5. The positioning of the remaining two players that are not involved in the triangle is shown by players 2 and 4. Those players are an important part of the offense as well.
As the offense is executed, floor balance and spacing are maintained by filling those five spots. The triangle can be established on either the right or left side of the floor.
If the players are in these positions, #3 should be able to pass to any of the other four players; which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the defense. Each defender must be concerned with keeping the player he is guarding from getting the ball which makes him less able to help.
The Triangle Offense can be initiated from any formation that fits your team such as a box, 1-4 high, stack, or any other alignment that fits your personnel. You can even change formations throughout the game so that the defense is forced to adjust.
The most common way to start the Triangle Offense is for the guard (1) to pass to 3 at the free throw line extended. The first option is a give and go between 3 and 1. Against most defenses, that option will not be available, so 1 will cut to the corner.
The second look is to get the ball to the post player (5). When the post player receives the ball, the first look should be to score. The other options the post has should be determined by the strengths of the other players, but would include 1 and 3 “scissoring” off the post as shown in the diagram. The passer always cuts first on a scissors move to avoid the problem of the two players arriving at the same time.
Instead of passing to the post, 3 can also pass to 1. If one does not have a shot or a drive, he can hit the post to run the scissor action. The passer should always be the first cutter.
If the low post player (5) is not open, the next look should be to #2 who has flashed to the top of the key. 4 can come up and run a pick and roll with 2. Another choice 2 can make is to pass to 4 and then cut around him for a handoff.
The final option if 5, 1, and 2 are all being denied is for player #4 to flash to the ball side elbow as #2 is walking his defender away from the ball. When #4 receives the ball, #4 makes a backdoor cut for a bounce pass from #4. If that isn’t open, then #5 can seal his man away from the basket for a high-low pass from 4.
When the ball reverses sides of the floor, the same plays are run on the left side. Those are the most basic plays for the Triangle Offense. You can add more options for each player and each spot as the season progresses and your team becomes more comfortable with the offense.
The five spots of the offense are interchangeable, but it’s best to determine which spots fit your players’ strengths and keep them in the roles that utilize those floor positions. Most teams do not have five players who are capable of playing every spot.
If you do select the Triangle Offense as your team’s man to man attack, it will take some time for our players to learn to execute it by reading the defense and reacting. But, once the players “get it,” you will be very tough to stop!