When Steve Kerr was being linked to multiple coaching jobs within the league, the consensus was that he would implement elements of the triangle offense to whichever team he would end up joining. In fact, it was what made Kerr such a hot commodity.
One of the biggest complaints from the Golden State Warriors’ fans last season was that former coach Mark Jackson was unable to fully utilize the team’s offensive abilities. Warriors’ fans are probably still having recurring nightmares of isolation basketball, or repeated attempts of posting up certain players.
So when the Warriors landed Kerr, many fans were interested in seeing how he would take advantage of having the shooting talents of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
However, what many are overlooking is that the key player that will determine the offense’s success is not one of the Splash Brothers, but rather the burly Australian center, Andrew Bogut.
(image obtained from http://www.brianmac.co.uk/basketball/hstrioffen.htm)
The triangle system is predicated on movement off the ball and requires all participants to be deft passers. It features a sideline triangle created by the center at the low post (number 3 in diagram), a forward at the wing (number 5), and a guard at the corner (number 4). The other guard is stationed at the top of the key (number 1), while the other forward is on the weak-side high post (number 2). This is done to ensure good spacing between players, and it creates passing options to all players.
The offense is highly reactive to what the defense is offering. The center plays a very important role in the offense; as the primary option is to enter the ball into the low post, the center can look to score or to pass to the other options.
This is where Bogut needs to shine. Earlier in his career, he was known as a center with tremendous passing ability. However, in his time in Golden State, we have not seen much of his passing ability. His assist rate has dipped in the past two seasons, with last year’s 9.3 percent being an all career low. Kerr will rely heavily on Bogut to create out of the post, and we might see him revert back to or surpass his career high 3 assists per game.
The triangle offense also requires the center to be able to score from the low post. This is another part of Bogut’s game that has been lacking over the past few seasons. With the Milwaukee Bucks, he averaged 12.7 points on 10.4 shot attempts per game. However, in his previous two seasons, he averaged 6.8 points with only 5.6 shot attempts per game – nearly half of his offensive production.
During his time in Milwaukee, Bogut showed that he could be a successful scorer at the post with the combination of his strength and ball-handling ability. He was not given that opportunity whilst under Jackson. Hopefully his role will expand under Kerr’s plans.
Kerr has also revealed that he will incorporate certain elements of the pick-and-roll system in his offense. He recognized the success of the pick-and-roll game between Curry and Bogut and has admitted that it would be “crazy to take the screen-and-roll from Stephen Curry”. Whatever Kerr decides, it is clear that Bogut will feature as a bigger role on the offense than he previously was under Jackson.