Steve Blake: Born to Play in the Triangle Offense

So few NBA franchises enjoy the cohesive relationship shared between ownership, the general manager and head coach as the Los Angeles Lakers do. Between the limitless funds and shrewd business practices of Hall of Famer Dr. Jerry Buss, the (dare I say it) Jerry West-esque eye for talent of Mitch Kupchak and the basketball wisdom of Phil Jackson, the Lake Show is filled will all-starts in all phases of basketball operations.

Look no further than the off-season acquisition of Steve Blake as the latest entry into Kupchak’s soon to be released book titled ” How to Win Titles and Influence NBA Trends”.

Blake is already getting rave reviews for his quick grasp of the triangle offense. And why not? The Miami native with the smooth handle and crisp jumper was born to play in Tex Winter’s gift to the game. More specifically, Blake is a perfect fit for Phil Jackson’s version of the triangle offense.

Jackson values guards with size and a high basketball IQ to run his offense. Blake gets a checkmark in both of those boxes. Blake’s championship pedigree is also an ideal addition to a team looking to add another parade to the L.A. City Planner’s to-do list next year. Having won titles at the high school and college level, Blake is looking to complete the trifecta.  

Laker fans have always been aware of Blake. The combo guard dropped an Oscar Robertson on the Lakers as a member of the cross Staples rivals the Clipper last season. He’s also spent the better parts of four seasons as a member of the Portland Trailblazers too helping to add to that long drought between wins in Rip City.

Blake shoots just a shade under 40% for his career from beyond the arc. Perfect for those defenders who cheat off him to try and help double Kobe Bryant. He’s even got a nice touch from inside the arc as well making Blake a dangerous man in a system predicated on floor spacing. He might sport Jordan Farmar’s vacated number but at right around 3 to 1 assist to turnover, Blake plays nothing like the reckless Farmar.

Blake won’t be starting but he could see starter’s minutes behind Derek Fisher and his size makes Blake capable of playing both guard positions in the offense.

All in all, the Lakers might have made one of the better moves this off-season – talents taken to South Beach not withstanding. Now if only Blake can only help Ron Artest to get a better grasp on the triangle.

Tags: Derek Fisher Dr. Jerry Buss Jerry West Jordan Farmar Mitch Kupchak Phil Jackson Ron Artest Steve Blake Tex Winter

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  • Chris

    Nice article but I strongly disagree with your comment that Mitch Kupchak has a Jerry West eye for talent. Let’s be honest, if Memphis hadn’t gifted Pau Gasol to the Lakers, we would be stuck in the same spot, 40+ win team and loosing in the 1st round of the playoffs. Every signle GM in the NBA would have made that trade. Mitch has drafted poorly with Andrew Bynum being the loan exception and the jury is out on him. And yes the Lakers did bring in some nice pieces this year as free agents but this does not indicate a great eye for talent when you are signing already established NBA players. Let’s hold off making any comparisons to Jerry West until Mitch builds a championship from sctrach when Kobe Bryant retires. Jerry not only drafted well in the 80′s but completely re built the team after Magic Johnson retired.
    Mitch Kupchak’s draft picks:
    2002 (Via Trade) Kareem Rush
    2003: Brian Cook/Luke Walton
    2004: Sasha Vujacic/Marcus Douthit
    2005: Andrew Bynum/Ronny Turiah/Von Wafer
    2006: Jordan Farmer/J.R. Pinnok
    2007: Javaris Crinttenton/Sun Yue/Marc Gasol
    2008: Joe Crawford
    2009: Chinemelu Elonu

    This is not a keen eye for talent. The Lakers have drafted poorly since during his time as G.M.

    • Chris Shellcroft


      You’re right that Kupchak is no Jerry West. There will never be another. I’m just saying that if you look at the talent Mitch has brought in from around the league (Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown, Ron Artest, Steve Blake to name a few)that you have to admit he’s done a good job of finding talent to keep this team in title contention every year.

      Plus, Mitch has had to handle some tough situations such as KB24′s meltdown a few years ago.

      Yes, his drafts haven’t been the best but Marc Gasol is legit, Luke has been a valuable asset, Ronny is a solid NBA contributor and Bynum was a real gem when you look back at it.

      For sure GM Mitch is no Jerry West. But all things being considered, he’s done a great job and this is coming from a guy who wanted him gone after having to watch Smush Parker and Kwame Brown start for a playoff team.

      Great comment! Thanks for taking the time.

      • Chris

        Thank you for your reply. My whole point is saying I don’t think Mitch has a good eye for talent. I disagree with your stance on Turiaf and Walton. Turiaf for his career averages 5ppg and 3rpg, and has been on 3 teams in 5 seasons. Luke Walton could not play for any other team in the NBA because of the triangle offense.

        Signing and making trades for already established NBA players who have been good players else where doesn’t mean you have an eye for talent. I wouldn’t say Pat Riley has a great eye for talent because he signed LeBron James, everyone in the NBA would love to have him. Shannon Brown was a throw in, in the Adam Morrison trade, he wasn’t even the centerpiece, he was someone that the Lakers had to take back to make the salaries work. Luckily he fit in and has done a nice job. The Pau Gasol trade was a gift because Memphis was in a salary dump and wanted to get rid of Pau, who was already an all-star. It wasn’t Mitch’s eye for talent in bringing him in, it was the Grizzlies trying to find the best expiring contract. If it weren’t for that trade we would still be a 7th or 8th place team in the west and loosing in the 1st round every season.

        As a Laker fan, I’m worried about us going forward, Kobe has had 4 knee surgeries and might not hold up much longer. I don’t feel Mitch has what it takes to rebuild our team once Kobe retires. And if we are going to build our team around Andre Bynum, we are all fooling ourselves. Great site!

        • Chris Shellcroft

          Thanks for the great comments, Chris!

          Keep em coming.

          I see your point, for sure. I’m not saying Kupchak would have found Jimmy Chitwood but he has done a very good job of filling the roster with the right pieces to keep those parades rolling.

          As for Bynum…well…let’s just hope he sees the light soon. I am worried about making him the building block of the future but you’ve got to give it to Mitch. When he drafted Bynum as high as he did I thought he was crazy. But you look around the league and see how Drew’s game has come along and he is already one of the best TRUE centers in the game today.

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