Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Abstract basketball, the triangle offense

I've watched a few basketball games, but I wouldn't recognize the triangle offense if it bit me on the posterior. It seems that many far more knowledgeable about the game are mystified as well. The NYTimes has an article in search of an account where we find these interesting paragraphs:
“I love watching it; everybody seems to be involved,” Amaker said. But, he added, he would never use the system as a coach because “it’s not something I know.”

That even Amaker, considered one of basketball’s most intelligent coaches, could not say much about the triangle seemed remarkable until I spoke with Jay Williams, an ESPN analyst. Williams played in the triangle in his one season with the Bulls before a career-ending motorcycle crash, yet he, too, was challenged to explain it.

“Me, I study the game every day,” Williams said. “I have an N.B.A. League Pass. I watch so many college games. I’m breaking down games every night.

“You hand me a piece of paper and say, ‘Jay, define the triangle for me,’ it’s kind of like a kid with Magic Markers drawing a cartoon. It’s all over the page. So many series of actions, I get lost trying to explain it. Now, give me four guys who know how to run it on the court, I can get out there and do it.”
So we've got a man who knows it when he sees it, but can't use it and another who can play it, but can't explain it.

But lots of things are like that, we can do them but can't explain them.

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