- The Basketball
The Basketball Triangle
The Triangle Offensive is the brainchild of current Los Angeles Laker
assistant coach Tex Winter. The Triangle is based on execution of the
fundamentals and court spacing to produce the best high-percentage
scoring opportunities. It is impossible to teach the Triangle or any
offense if your players cannot execute basic offensive skills. At the
high school level, players will struggle with the basic fundamentals of
the Triangle such as spacing, crisp passing, changing speeds, cutting
and most important, reading the defense.
While the Triangle offense can be complex and intricate, the basic
concepts can be easily adapted into, lower levels of competition. Once
your players accept their roles in this offense, you'll be on your way
to success. The simpler version of the Triangle offense relies on the
same basic concepts as Winter's - good spacing and movement. Players
must be 15 to 18 feet apart so the defense can't crowd an area and make
your player's passes ineffective, forcing the offense to break down. In
the original Triangle, all offensive movement is in reaction to what
the defense does. High school players will have a difficult time just
dealing with the fundamentals needed to run any offense, so don't rely
on your players being able to read defenses. Instead of being
preoccupied with what the defense is doing, have your players focus on
running the Triangle and let the opponents attempt to read it.
Triangle Alignment (Right Side)
As you can see by the basic alignment in diagram , this triangle is
on one side of the floor. Opposite the triangle are
two players in what is called the "tandem" side of the offense.
The numbers in the diagram do not represent positions, only players.
You must forget the normal assumption that guards play out front,
forwards at the wings, and centers in the low post.
I tell my players that they are not 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s or 5s but v everyone
is a 15! (If you add up all the numbers it totals 15). Your players
must play all these positions when using this offense.
Player 1 has the ball. 2 runs to the free-throw line extended from the
block area. 1 can pass to 2 and
cut for the handoff or keep the ball and use 2 for a pick. If 2 hands
the ball off to 1, 2 can roll to the basket for a perfect
pick-and-roll. On the triangle side, 3 and 4 will go to the block area
and set a double screen for 5. 5 will take his or her assigned defender
behind the screen, then pop out toward the tandem side looking for a
pass from 2, providing he or she didn't handoff to 1.
If 5 doesn't get the ball, he or she continues the route to form the
triangle. Without the ball, 1
continues to the corner looking for a pass from 2 and a jump shot. 2
can also pass to 1, slide down the lane and play a two-player game with
1 because that side of the floor is open. 2 can always turn and face-up
with the defender for a one-on-one situation. 4 slides up to the tandem
post while 3 pops to the top. If 1 has the ball in the corner, 5 ducks
into the lane and gets a pass from 1 for an easy layup or dish-off.
After the player movements, notice that the triangle and tandem are now
on the opposite sides of the floor. For simplicity, try to have every
entry with the triangle and tandem on the same side.
Entry from Corner
5 has the ball and passes to 4 in the corner to start the series. 3
steps up to set a pick for 5. 5 cuts off 3 looking for a pass from 4.
If 5 fails to get a pass from 4, he or she runs a route and curls
around 2 looking for a pass from 4. If 5 still doesn't get a pass, he
or she drifts to form the triangle on the left side. As 5 is running
through the lane, 3 sets a pick for 4 trying to set up a
If nothing materializes from the corner entry, 4 dribbles to the top as
3 goes to the block area to for the other half of the
Players 5, 2 and 1 makeup the triangle on the opposite
Entry from Post
5 passes to 3 in the post. 4 runs baseline looking for a backdoor pass
from 3. As 4 cuts across the
baseline, 1 forms a double screen with 2. 4 curls and looks for a pass
from 3. If 4 fails to get a pass, he or she proceeds to the top to form
2 flares out to the corner and 1 becomes the triangle-side post 5 can
cut off 3 for a handoff or play a two-man game with 3 as soon as 4
If nothing happens, 3 dribbles out and 5 goes to the post to form the
tandem side. 3 also has the option to face-up and go one-on-one with
the assigned defender.
5 has the ball, 1 sprints toward 5 for a pass as 3 steps and locks out
his or her defender and steps into the lane looking for a
quick pass from 1 for a layup.
2 sprints toward the baseline, then jab steps and runs to get a pass
from 5 at the triangle elbow.
1 takes two or three steps to the left and cuts toward the basket
looking for a pass from 5.
Players proceed as in diagram 6. As 4 is just about to curl around the
screen, he or she backpedals to the corner looking for a
skip pass from 3 for the jump shot.
Players proceed as in diagram 2 above. 1 passes to 2 and cuts while
looking for the return pass. 3 and 4 set a screen for 5.
5 runs the normal route behind screen, but instead of coming over the
screen, he or she pops to the corner looking for a skip pass from 2 for
the jump shot. If 5 fails to receive the pass, he or she should come
over the screen looking for the pass and shot at the free-throw line
area or try to go under the screen for an easy layup.