The Coach's Notebook
is proud to review

Analysis of the 
Triangle Offense

by Jack Temple
former high school coach

at left, Coach Jack Temple, with son Will, who helped with the book.



The Analysis of the Triangle Offense is an 86 page booklet that explains the workings of the triangle offense made famous in recent years as the principle offense of recent NBA champions, the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Coach Temple presents the triangle offense as he taught it in his high school coaching career.


As I read through the booklet, I got the feeling that I really liked Coach Temple. Why? Because he approaches the offensive game of basketball with that "old school" mentality. That's exactly what my players call me, "old school". Well, to be blunt, the old school works.

Despite the freelance appearance the triangle offense promotes, you can see that there is a heavy emphasis on using the post players. I love this. Players today are terribly guard oriented. Nobody likes to play post because the guards control the ball and take all the shots. However, you can't have a triangle without three points, and one of those points will be a post. Whether the post shoots, screens or passes, he is a integral part of the process.

Coach Temple's intimate knowledge of the post roles is evident in the description of the cuts and screens shown in the diagrams. It would make perfect sense to me to use any one of the play options as a separate, break down drill because they employ the basic, fundamental skills of passing, cutting, misdirection and moving without the ball.

Now, if your team is weak using pick and rolls and the give and go plays, and if their passing to the post is poor, don't run this offense. Instead focus on these fundamental skills. This offense requires strong fundamental skills and experienced gamesmanship to recognize sudden opportunities provided by the defense.

Coach Temple soundly advises you to start with the basics. Floor spacing and positioning are critical. Players must have a clear understanding of how to develop the triangle formation and know who is supposed to be in it. With five players on the team, if three are in the triangle, then two are not. These two players have crucial roles when the ball is reversed from the triangle, either running a two man game or forming a new triangle on the other side of the floor.

Two simplified triangle offenses are presented. They are not really two different offenses, just subsets of the overall triangle. It make sense to choose some simple play options to master, then add variations as the players become more familiar with the pattern.

One thing Coach Temple points out is that the triangle offers you the advantage of exploiting advantageous matchups. The booklet shows you some easy options to use your guard as a post or isolate a player as part of the triangle process.

As kind of a bonus, there are descriptions and diagrams of how to deal with full court pressure and how to handle half court presses. I didn't think they were part of a the triangle offense, but nonetheless, you may find the strategy useful.

Another bonus was the discussion on the delay game. With good movement and reversal, the triangle can be used that way by being very selective with shots. However, what I wasn't expecting was the use of the spread as a method of freezing the ball. He calls it the "5 man weave give and go delay game". I just call it the spread and have taught it to every team I have coached. Its very effective and Coach Temple's instructions will work quite well.

There are 5 appendices. Appendix A is a quick reference to diagrams by topic. Appendix B is a year by year synopsis of Coach Temple's teams. It was interesting to read and you can't help but notice that his teams were very successful. I feel Coach Temple must of had a lot more to offer his players than the triangle offense. Anyway, Appendix C is a list of hand signals his teams used to specify attack options, Appendix D has tips for teaching basic basketball to youngsters, and Appendix E has a few words regarding September 11, 2001.


The diagrams in the booklet are clearly presented. I particularly liked that they are uncluttered, describing only the immediate movements of the players. The omission of "this move, then that move" construction make the drawings easy to understand. I found them very useful.

The play options are described in a step by step mode and none of the explanations are very long. Most can be described in one or two diagrams and a couple short paragraphs of text. I had absolutely no trouble following the descriptions.

Two supplemental fliers have been recently added to the book. Their purpose is to provide the reader with a "quick start" into the triangle offense by pointing out the pages that provide the basic structure you need to get going. The beauty of the offense is that you can begin simply and add complexity as the players grow more familiar with the play.


The triangle is hard to explain because there are so many options that can be employed at any given moment. Indeed, that is one of the strengths of the offense. While the booklet is clearly written, it often requires the reader to reference diagrams located several pages away.


There are a couple clear advantages to running the triangle offense. One, with its inherent overload, it works against both m2m and zone. This allows you to learn just one offense. The triangle can become sufficiently intricate to challenge your team all season long. Two, there is a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility that allows a coach to use specific matchup advantages.

I wholeheartedly recommend the triangle offense to teams of high school age and older. Coach Temple's booklet will help you learn it. The booklet is moderately priced and is definitely worth the money. To get your copy, or to contact the author, visit their website at

Steve Jordan
Coach's Notebook


Ordering Information

You can get an 8x11 copy of this book by purchasing it through Ebay at the bottom of this page. The cost of the book is $16.00. S&H brings the total to $19.85. We can provide customized shipping rates via email for international customers. Orders above 1 book will correspond to U.S. Postal rates both domestic and internationally.

*A 6x9 copy of the book can be printed at your request.

Send orders by way of money order or certified check to:

Triangle Analysis
PO Box 1862
Smithfield, NC 27577

Send a written request for the book in an envelope and enclose a certified check or money order in the amount of $16.00 (tax included) plus $3.85 shipping and handling. Total Cost $19.85 for 8x11 in state. Total Cost for out of state customers will be: $16.00 for 8x11 plus applicable shipping rate. Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for shipping.

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