What does hiring Jeff Hornacek mean for the Knicks?

Stunned.

That was my reaction when I saw this tweet from Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck:

Until about a week ago I was convinced Knicks president Phil Jackson was going to remove the interim tag and keep Kurt Rambis on a full time basis. The other choices seemed to be David Blatt, Frank Vogel and Hornacek. I would have bet all my money (so pretty much nothing) on either of the two not named Hornacek.

A litte bit of background here. I live in Phoenix and I covered the Suns on a semi-regular basis during Hornacek’s two years and change with the organization. I’ve interviewed him during the draft workout process, at practices, plus before and after games. Hornacek was always open and honest regarding his philosophies and the players on the roster.

Even with all of this exposure to him I’m not totally sure what to make of the hire.

Hornacek’s time with the Suns got off to a tremendous start when they overachieved in 2013-14 going 48-34 and just missing the playoffs. They were even better than those 48 wins too. Phoenix was 28-15 with Eric Bledsoe in the lineup and 20-19 when he wasn’t, and he Suns ranked eighth offensively (offensive rating per 100 possessions) and 13th defensively.

While everyone remembers the Suns falling apart due to chemistry issues the following year, what people forget is they started off 28-20, and were 29-25 before dealing Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline. From that point forward, the Suns cratered, finishing the season 10-18.

In Hornacek’s first 136 games his record stood at 77-59 (.566 win-percentage) and in his final 77 he went 24-53 (.311 win-percentage).

What makes Jackson picking Hornacek strange isn’t his time ending with the Suns poorly — it’s more that he’s the exact opposite of the type of coach you’d expect Jackson would put in charge to carry out his vision. To wit, reports from pretty much every single person on the Knicks beat have already surfaced that they will no longer be running the full blown triangle on offense. That makes sense if you’re going forward with Hornacek as your head coach.

His offenses in Phoenix were based around dribble penetration and spacing. Hornacek never cared about traditional positional designations. He played two point guards and sometimes even three, he’d play a power forward at center, a small forward at power forward and so on. One of the biggest reasons the 13-14 team had success was the 750 minutes Channing Frye and Markieff Morris played together.  They put up a 115.4 ORtg and 103.8 DRtg.

I bring up that specific pair due to New York having Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks duo can bring the same type of offensive spacing only with more versatility offensively and a rim protecting big the Suns twosome lacked. This will make the game easier for a dribble-drive guard like Jerian Grant as he enters his second-year, who will also undoubtedly be utilized in pick and roll more with Porzingis than he was last season.

Let’s be clear here, Hornacek believes in modern offensive tenets, but this he’s not going to turn the Knicks into the Houston Rockets. The Suns did rank fifth and 11th in threes taken per 100 possessions during Hornacek’s first two seasons, but they didn’t completely ignore the mid-range game.

In an interview with Zach Lowe, then of Grantland, Hornacek described his thoughts on shot locations:

Oh, yeah. We gotta get rid of that long 2. I’m not opposed to the middle jumper, in that 15- or 16-foot range. I think all but two teams that were in the playoffs, their effective field goal percentages were above 51 percent. If you can shoot 15-footers and shoot 52 percent, OK, you’re beating the average. You can’t totally discount those shots.

Right. We’ll take a look at it all. But the ones we have to eliminate are the ones that are within 4 or 5 feet of the 3-point line. Those are low-percentage shots worth two points.

Hornacek will play to the talent he has on the court. Robin Lopez and Anthony will still get post up opportunities. New York will still utilize Anthony’s mid-range game just in smaller doses and Porzingis won’t become one-trick pony. The modern tendencies Hornacek held on offense also transferred to the defensive end. His defensive assistant was Mike Longabardi, a Tom Thibodeau disciple.

I’d put the Suns average to below average rankings during Hornacek’s time more on the personnel than the scheme. Miles Plumee had a good 35-40 games and then fell off a cliff, Alex Len was too young, and Tyson Chandler’s legs were dead — the Suns never had a quality defensive anchor at the center position.

Lopez and Porzingis immediately become the two best defensive big men Hornacek has had the opportunity to coach. The Knicks should make strides as the playing time decreases for the laterally challenged Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo (hopefully) opts out.

There’s nothing about Hornacek strategically to think he’d hold them back if they put the proper pieces in place.

Hey! This all seems extremely positive so what could go wrong?

Well, it can’t be ignored how the Suns weren’t able to build on Hornacek’s first season. While Hornacek wasn’t exactly put in a position to succeed, he also wasn’t able to get players to fully buy into what he was selling.

Dragic and Kieff both demanded trades, the defense regressed from year one to year two, and in year three everything fell horribly apart. It’s hard to get a feel for how much of this was Hornacek’s fault versus the front office struggling to communicate straight forward plans when roster moves were made. No players ever had anything bad to say about Hornacek–and that includes Morris–but their actions on the court didn’t always match their words.

It’s possible the Suns were just an ill-fitting team with flaws no head coach was going to be able to get through. It’s also possible the players specifically tuned out Hornacek’s message at times and he needs to get better at finding ways to bring out their best more consistently. These are the type of observations about coaching that are impossible to get a read on unless you’re inside how a team is operating.

The Knicks answered one question by preparing to hire Hornacek as their head coach. Now we wait for the answers to all the others.

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bgibberman

Representing all Knicks fans of Arizona. This is unfortunate for all of them. Unabashed lover of J.R. Smith.

109 thoughts to “What does hiring Jeff Hornacek mean for the Knicks?”

  1. Good piece. Obviously, it might not work out, but Phil’s willingness to deviate from the Triangle is huge, since it disproves the narrative that he’s putting some stupid philosophical point ahead of the needs of the team. For that matter, it’s been hilarious reading most of the beat writers and columnists write about the move; Isola’s piece was basically, “I’m confused, because this doesn’t fit the story I’ve been telling you all for months.”

  2. Hard to give Hornacek a pass because it’s part of a coach’s job to keep players focused, but Dragic wanted out when they traded for like 6 other PGs, and Markieff went nuts when the GM used the twin-twin bond to encourage them sign under-market contracts to player together, then used those under market contracts to trade one of them away. Also if you read the PHX fan boards, there was ton of locker-room drama (different factions etc.) and also apparently Eric Bledsoe is super athletic but also super incapable of carrying out anything but the simplest game plans. So I tend to put most of the struggles on the FO.

  3. Thank you for the knowledge you were able to bring to this!!!! I take a lot more positives from it than negatives. Sometimes that 2nd coaching job works out better than the first (unless you are Rambis); coaches learn too.

    I guess we will see what is next….effective assistants are an important key; one for defense and a big man coach to help zinger along. And, if Horny can still jack it from 3 (can’t believe what I just did there; sorry about that), maybe he can player coach

  4. Stephen A. just said (screamed) on ESPN radio that Phil is doing an awful job, that he’s the face of the franchise and should be out recruiting free agents.

    Isn’t that tampering?

  5. Frank-

    I was in that locker room a good amount & dealt with the players on a regular basis. I think that’s exaggerated & the players mainly got along.

  6. We should all ignore Stephen A. Smith, when it comes to the Knicks. He is totally out of the loop.

  7. Since someone mentioned SAS, I’m going to post the funniest tweet I’ve ever read

    PF Chang’s waiter: “[Recites specials] Stephen A. Smith: (Acts surprised) “To me, that’s preposterous. Crab Rangoon, things of that nature.”

  8. Frank-

    I was in that locker room a good amount & dealt with the players on a regular basis. I think that’s exaggerated & the players mainly got along.

    good to know- thanks

  9. @5
    Many thanks for the insights.
    @4
    There’s some interesting stuff going on with the NYK press corps. In the broad brush strokes I’d say that the ones who specialize in gossip and drama are in full-on hissy-fit mode about Phil’s tenure. They’re staging a low-intensity coup.

    Consider that MSG, the once-leaky trough under which a lot of these guys feed, is no longer leaky. The “SOURCES!!!” crew has been wrong and late on every single aspect of this search. They swore it was Rambis, and never even tried to answer the obvious questions. Why Rambis now, when Phil has never treated Rambis like he was that guy? He pursued Kerr then Fisher, two guys with zero prior coaching experience. He never hinted that he’d remove Rambis’ interim tag and dispense with a search, which would have been the most prudent thing if he was as enamoured as they said. They swore it was “triangle devotees only,” despite numerous clarifications about “system basketball” that consistently added up to, “I want weakside movement.”

    Add to that, they were a day late on Phil’s interest in Blatt, Vogel, and Hornacek, all while stomping their feet about him being on vacation. The news about Phil’s interest came from those coaches’ agents, not MSG. Well, Phil is publicly embarrassing them by taking food directly off their collective plate, and they won’t stand for it. Meanwhile, it would behoove us NYK fans to just pay attention to the people who write about basketball.

    I’d have put my $ on Blatt being the choice. I’ll be interested to see what happens with him. I thought he’d get more play, given how over the top people got when he was fired.

  10. Consider that MSG, the once-leaky trough under which a lot of these guys feed, is no longer leaky.

    It’s still leaky, but really just through people Phil “probably knows”. Howard Beck and Phil go way back – Beck was the beat reporter for the Lakers back in the day.

    It does very much feel like the tabloids have been cut out. Pretty much everything they’ve written has been completely wrong, certainly since (and including) when Fisher was fired. That came completely out of nowhere as far as the NY press scene was concerned, but Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst mentioned a couple weeks before the firing that they had heard that Fish was in hot water.

  11. Two things:
    1. From an earlier post: DRed….I love that you called him Horny. Gonna stick with it.
    2. You all do realize what this means….Lopez is gettin’ traded.

  12. Only trade lopez, if you are getting a dynamic wing or pg, otherwise, he is a really good big to have.

  13. I’m not opposed to a Lopez trade if it gets us a really strong guard, but we’ll see if Hornacek immediately pushes for small ball or tries to see what he can do with that impressive front court. We could probably get Teague for Lopez, but could we do any better?

  14. @12
    This might be before your time, but “Horny” is his wife’s nickname for him. That came out when he played for Phoenix. IIRC, Kevin Johnson spilled those beans.

  15. @11

    I think the leaks now are fairly controlled. Most of what is being put out there through the tabloids and NY guys seems like straight misinformation and trolling on Phil’s part. Prior to the draft last year is the best example as we heard the Knicks being interested in drafting every prospect or hypothetical trade scenario, bar drafting Porzingis. We didn’t even know Gaines had scouted him in Europe or that they had privately worked him out until after the draft. Then to save face we had crap from Isola and SAS being spewed that Melo wanted out and hated KP among much other nonsense.

    2. You all do realize what this means….Lopez is gettin’ traded.

    Why? He didn’t pick the roster in Phoenix, he just fit his scheme to the personnel on hand. Also RoLo has played in uptempo systems.

  16. I’m not opposed to a Lopez trade if it gets us a really strong guard, but we’ll see if Hornacek immediately pushes for small ball or tries to see what he can do with that impressive front court. We could probably get Teague for Lopez, but could we do any better?

    Phoenix ran with Alex Len. So I think Hornacek gets that you can run with a big who rebounds.

  17. Frank, I’m waiting for another open letter to Phil apologizing to him. He forgives you.

  18. Why? He didn’t pick the roster in Phoenix, he just fit his scheme to the personnel on hand. Also RoLo has played in uptempo systems.

    I mean, it’s possible that Horny is an inflexible system coach, but there’s no evidence of that.

  19. There’s some interesting stuff going on with the NYK press corps. In the broad brush strokes I’d say that the ones who specialize in gossip and drama are in full-on hissy-fit mode about Phil’s tenure. They’re staging a low-intensity coup.

    I think they’ve also gotten very comfortable with the “Knicks are a total mess!” storyline. It has served them well for a long time and they know exactly what temperature the anxiety-ridden Knicks fans (of which I consider myself one) like it served. And the one thing you would have to say about Phil’s tenure – even for someone like myself who has been, and remains, skeptical of a lot of what he has done – is that it really hasn’t been a hot mess. The team hasn’t been good, but it has been low drama. Most of the free-agent signings have been middling veterans. No trading away of future assets for a short-term fix. He shipped out the malcontents and despite two awful seasons there really hasn’t been much locker room discord or organizational infighting that we’ve heard about.

    The team has been downright boring in a lot of ways, and boring doesn’t sell many papers or get many clicks, so I think they started trying to push the old standby narrative with regards to this coaching search. But in a lot of ways this is a typical Phil move. Not exactly inspired, but not terrible either. He conducted his business quietly and reasonably without any of the beat guys seeming to get any read on it. Once again it just doesn’t leave them much to chatter about, and there’s nothing they like less than that.

  20. A big, heartfelt thank you to Brian Cronin for using his incredible ability to be wrong about everything for the good of the Knicks. Take a bow, sir.

  21. Frank, I’m waiting for another open letter to Phil apologizing to him. He forgives you.

    lol i’m working on it.

    Seriously though – my major issue with Phil was that it appeared he was being extremely close-minded. And that was NOT a media creation — he said things himself that made it appear that way. As an executive, I think he’s been average at best – better than what we’ve had in recent decades years but by no means inspired. This kind of a hire is so surprising because it’s basically contradicted everything he himself said. So he was trolling us. Fine with me – don’t see the need for it, but I’m a results-based guy. This is (so far) a good result.

    Have to figure Grant, KP, and Melo are absolutely stoked about this hire. Hopefully Afflalo is not psyched.

    It is sort of interesting that we haven’t heard ANYTHING from any of the players. Yet.

  22. Yeah, I agree with the above about Phil being average so far as GM.

    The main big three things we NEEDED he did do though:

    1. Keep all picks (he actually gained picks. …i forgot you can do that…)

    2. Draft and attain good young players and coach(es) with upside

    3. Stay away from long-term, high-$ contracts (aside Melo, yes)

    He also:

    – Completely changed the culture of the team. JR/Tyson/etc type grumblings are completely OUT.

    – Completely changed the culture of media relations, and decided (maybe just as a side effect of having a good front office) to cut out tabloid fodder for good.

    – Had some fun trolling us and the media with photos of random Thai restaurants in the midwest. Pretty funny in hindsight.

  23. Isola is melting down on twitter. This hire proves Isiah is the puppet master and Carmelo has destroyed Phil Jackson.

  24. Isola is melting down on twitter. This hire proves Isiah is the puppet master and Carmelo has destroyed Phil Jackson.

    Yeah this is the moment when he/Berman/Begley etc. realize their “sources” don’t exist. I actually like Isola and Begley, but Isola in particular is really flailing now.

  25. holy @%&@%^$%$

    NEVER MIND EVERYTHING

    Breaking News: Sources @latimes are reporting that NY Knicks President Phil Jackson will step down later this week.

  26. WHAT. THE. F*CK.

    Not sure if that is real. Came from Jennifer Carr ESPN LA and LA Times. Wow.

  27. I half think that NY “reporters” have always just made up the worst case scenario and pretended to have sources, but it turned out true anyway cuz Knicks.

  28. @31

    I think Isola used to have sources within the Knicks FO, but Phil has either used those to spread misinformation or eradicated them. The Greg Monroe thing and the Trey Lyles crap before the draft that Isola got wind of seemed like active trolling.

  29. “Keep all picks (he actually gained picks. …i forgot you can do that…)”
    Changing the subject, there were a number of posts yesterday about how 6 teams hold something like 26 of the 60 picks in this year’s draft. This means two things — a shockingly high percentage of teams have traded away picks in this year’s draft and a bunch of teams are in the same position as the Knicks in that they are going to be looking to figure out a way to acquire pick(s). The days leading up to the draft and the draft itself could be really interesting.

  30. @33

    Fun activity is to take a look at Miami and LA’s pick situation moving forward in comparison to the Knicks.

  31. Man, go read that jackie macmullan interview with Dwight Howard on ESPN. She is like human truth serum.

  32. Isola sounded pretty depressed on NBA Radio this morning, I think because for one day he couldn’t think of anything negative to say about the Knicks.

  33. Isola sounded pretty depressed on NBA Radio this morning, I think because for one day he couldn’t think of anything negative to say about the Knicks.

    Haha, yea, but he literally can’t do it. He’s grasping at straws now, even bringing up Isiah Thomas –

    “Jeff Hornacek’s father was Isiah Thomas’ freshman basketball coach and his high school Dean of Students…..move on, nothing to see here.” and then “Jim Dolan once said of Isiah: “He’s a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views….(continued)”

    I mean, COME ON!

  34. It looks like Isola has lost his mind. The comments aren’t cutting him any slack either. I think he’s crying in his beer on a regular basis.

    That being said, is it really official or will we suddenly have a David Blatt signing come out of nowhere?

  35. @33

    Fun activity is to take a look at Miami and LA’s pick situation moving forward in comparison to the Knicks.

    This is why we don’t need porzingis to develop into a superstar. I mean, it would be awesome, but we have cap space and our own first round picks if not. Which isn’t great, but it’s better than at any point in Knicks history this millennium.

  36. “Though reports of Hornacek’s interview with Jackson surfaced just this week, he was, in fact, the first person Jackson scheduled when this search began, just after the season ended last month, per league sources.”

    Interesting to read (via Beck) that Hornacek was on Phil’s radar from day 1.

  37. I live in LA so I don’t ever see any of the NYC tabloid papers, and I don’t do Twitter so I’m completely out of the loop with all of that crap. It’s a blissful existence.

    When I want to read intelligent discussion about what’s going on with the Knicks, I come here.

  38. “Though reports of Hornacek’s interview with Jackson surfaced just this week, he was, in fact, the first person Jackson scheduled when this search began, just after the season ended last month, per league sources.”
    Which is pretty funny for two reasons — (1) no one knew it or reported it (which has pretty much become the norm when it comes to what exactly is going on at any given time in the Knicks front office), and (2) it happened while SAS/Berman/Isola, et al. were all screaming that Phil was doing nothing and that he should be fired for going on vacation and fiddling while the Garden burned. Turns out he was a pretty busy guy, but we just didn’t know it.

  39. I gotta say the best part about Hornacek is that he is the one candidate out of all of them that runs a modern offense. I’m happy moving forward with Hornacek even if I don’t feel like he’s guaranteed to add wins to the Knicks the way I believed Vogel could have added wins with his defense. Hornacek and Ujiri in 2017 and beyond sounds pretty good.

  40. The real Frank Isola twitter account is a lot like one of those fake parody accounts (@NOTFrankIsola) where the person says the most ridiculous things possible going for the laugh. Maybe someone should start a @NOTFrankIsola account with serious Knicks basketball analysis. That would be almost as funny.

  41. Hi Guys,

    Real long time lurker here. I check out the site everyday on my lunch, it’s a total ritual. I caved and registered because I’m curious as to how some of you watch the Knicks without MSG or cable service? I’m moving soon and really the only things I would need cable service for is for the Knicks and Mets. Do y’all league pass or something. I’d love not having to shell out $120 a month.

    Anyway, cautiously stoked about Jeff excited to see what happens with the rest of off season.

  42. I live in LA so I don’t ever see any of the NYC tabloid papers, and I don’t do Twitter so I’m completely out of the loop with all of that crap. It’s a blissful existence.

    When I want to read intelligent discussion about what’s going on with the Knicks, I come here.

    Thanks JK47…i couldn’t say it any better than that…i really appreciated mikeplugh’s article on the journalism(?) surrounding the knicks…sometimes i forget where i’m from and it’s easy for me to buy into all the doom, gloom and drama – really looking forward to rooting for a “good” basketball team again (god, it feels like forever)…i’m most happy that phil has actually cleaned out most of the low quality folks on the team and seems to be trying to bring in some decent human beings…if nothing else – i’m grateful for that…

  43. i might prefer vogel by a smidge but hornacek is a good coach that just had a lot of turmoil with a ton of questionable moves by the front office… this is a lot more stable situation for him and i think we can mimic phoenix’s surprise first year under horny…

    the one thing that worries is how he’s going to adjust his offense without a servicable pg.. hornacek is a type of guy who is open-minded and adapts though which i think is one of the most important traits for a coach… ala popovich…

  44. As stated on this site a couple of dozen times, I too would have preferred Vogel, but will accept and be hopeful the Hornacek is a good fit and hire. Aside from his prior experience in Phoenix, his best attribute so far is he is not Kurt Rambis – this is good. We have to trust and hope that Big Chief Triangle knows more than us fans and that this pick is well thought out and will work.

  45. bgibberman, thanks for the article. I’m not even a Knicks fan really, but I do come here to read stuff. nice work.

  46. Another beautiful thing about Hornacek is he uses statistics. In his Grantland article he spoke about eFG% and what types of shots teams shouldn’t take. I think this could work out very well once you consider the fact no coach can turn water to wine.

  47. It’s fun watching Phil toy with the wretches on the Knicks beat. Phil has always been a spectacular asshole, and he’s our asshole now.

    As far as the Hornacek hire, I like him better than Vogel. If the system freedom info is accurate, I think Hornacek will instill a more modern offense and deploy KP more creatively than Vogel would have.

    I wouldn’t say the same about Blatt, but I don’t think either Blatt or Hornacek has a large enough body of NBA coaching where you can say either would be the superior candidate.

    Another reasonably good move by Phil.

  48. @46 Hey Oaktrees, I’ve been a member for awhile but mostly lurk too. I occasionally post to little or no response. I’m in San Diego and I split League Pass with a rotating cast of 5 or 6 friends. We’ve never had any issues with getting booted off for having too many people on.

  49. Looks like Vogel is headed to Orlando, <24h after the Hornacek news hit. Was waiting to see what happened with the Knicks job, I would guess.

  50. Hornacek’s good Suns team had the kind of shot chart that you like to see: they took lots of threes and very few 16+ foot jumpers.

  51. An open letter to Phil Jackson:

    Dear Mr. Jackson,

    Please keep up the great work. You’re the best thing that’s happened to NY Knickerbocker basketball maybe ever.

    A Loyal Fan,
    Reub

  52. Again, really no big thang. We need a freakin’ backcourt. If we keep running Calderon, Afflalo and Gallo out there, and Grant doesn’t develop, and Wroten continues to suck, we will keep losing significantly more than we win even if Red Holtzman was reincarnated.

  53. I judge Phil on his adherence to the following principles:

    1) don’t squander 1st round draft picks
    2) don’t overpay for cap-killing long-term free agents
    3) get rid of the knuckleheads
    4) no matter who’s on the roster or coaching, no matter what the record, hold everyone accountable for playing intelligent, team-oriented basketball
    5) develop a core of young players
    6) find low-cost diamonds in the rough

    So far, he’s been reasonably well-aligned with these principles, at least since the Melo deal. His moves don’t make him a legendary GM, but you have to wonder…what other GM has the gravitas to stand up to Dolan? Donnie Walsh is about as lofty as they come, and even he caved.

    So I give Phil a solid B thus far.

  54. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Hornacek hire, and I’m optimistic about the future. But we don’t need to resort to appealing to the authority of a list that contains Scotty Brooks and Mark Jackson

  55. Now reading that Phil has always liked Hornacek’s cerebral approach to the game and views him as a kindred spirit. Also, Blatt had a lot of support in the front office (Mills?), but Phil made the call. Hornacek may have been his choice all along…not Rambis. Cool.

  56. I gotta say the best part about Hornacek is that he is the one candidate out of all of them that runs a modern offense. I’m happy moving forward with Hornacek even if I don’t feel like he’s guaranteed to add wins to the Knicks the way I believed Vogel could have added wins with his defense. Hornacek and Ujiri in 2017 and beyond sounds pretty good.

    Yeah, seeing a modern offense would be great. I don’t see Ujiri leaving any time soon, though. They’re in the Eastern Conference Finals!

  57. Howard Beck seems to know everything. I think that he’s inside Phil’s head. He said a while ago that Hornacek was high on the list. He predicted the Lopez signing. Didn’t he also predict O’quinn?Recently he said that the Knicks would be going for bigger guards this offseason and specifically mentioned Bazemore and Jennings, while keeping DWill and Afflalo. I wouldn’t bet against Beck at this point.

  58. Beck was a Lakers beat writer when Phil was coaching there. He very obviously has an in with Phil or with those around him that maybe nobody else in the league has.

  59. Beck told either Simmons or Lowe a couple weeks ago that Rambis was going to be the HC. He seems more plugged in than the assholes in the local papers, but Phil seems to run a tight ship

  60. Hornacek will play to the talent he has on the court.

    That’s what I’ve been wanting since D’Antoni was here. He was in some ways a great coach, innovative mind, blah blah, but he could not adapt to his personnel – he wanted them to adapt to his system. Which in some cases was totally stupid. Woodson didn’t even KNOW what his players were good at, and got results with D’Antoni’s system without trusting it. And so on.

    It seems from the outside that Hornacek tried to make the best with what he’s got – like any great coach. Which is NOT to say he’s a great coach; I really don’t know enough to offer an opinion. But his emphasis on stats, on knowing what the numbers reveal about his players, and his ability to improvise a system that takes advantage of whatever he’s handed – those things are very encouraging.

    One very good off-guard (Batum, Bazemore) and we made progress this off-season. Which is not a miracle, but all I really expect from the front office. Competence, over time, is a good thing.

  61. Listening to Herring on the Lowe Post, he seemed pretty confident that Afflalo was on his way out, and that Calderon won’t be starting. So now we’ll get to really see what we have with Grant, as I’m sure he’ll be getting considerably more minutes if the reports that Hornacek won’t be running 100% triangle are true.

  62. Beck told either Simmons or Lowe a couple weeks ago that Rambis was going to be the HC. He seems more plugged in than the assholes in the local papers, but Phil seems to run a tight ship

    Or Phil was still planning on hiring Rambis until recently.

  63. Just listened to one of the most incredible statements ever by ass clown Jalen Rose. He called James Worthy (the great James Worthy) the league’s first “stretch 4”. Yes , that great, HOF slasher James Worthy, he of the 24% career 3 point percentage. The guy who hit exactly 5 , 3 point shots his first 7 seasons in the league total was a “stretch 4”!

  64. That’s OK, Mad Dog said today that OKC needs to win one of the next 2 games to get to a game 5.

  65. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Hornacek hire, and I’m optimistic about the future. But we don’t need to resort to appealing to the authority of a list that contains Scotty Brooks and Mark Jackson

    Pointing out a guy getting 331 times more votes as Brooks and Jackson and 75% was many as Pop isn’t appealing to authority… it is merely pointing out he was universally highly regarded.

    Phil is such an expert troll…..

  66. That’s OK, Mad Dog said today that OKC needs to win one of the next 2 games to get to a game 5.

    He probably had an intern do the maths for him :-)

  67. Or Phil was still planning on hiring Rambis until recently.

    Sure, with Phil you never know. But I find it very encouraging that he reached out to schedule a meeting with Horny when the season ended and was obviously open minded about their meeting. I’m in on Horny. Maybe he could teach one of our young guards how to play good basketball, cause I’m looking at his b-ref page and I’ll I’m thinking is that we could really, really use a player like that. I wonder where he’d rank all time in a ‘best 2nd round pick’ list. Got to be top 10 at least says my gut

  68. KP
    Rolo
    Melo
    Bazemore
    Jennings

    DWill
    Hernangomez
    Lance Thomas
    O’Quinn
    Calderon
    Grant
    Wroten
    Galloway

    I think we could add Jon Leuer at PF and hoping for Pao and/or Noah. Also would probably prefer Stephenson or Turner to Jennings or just start Grant. Solomon Hill would be nice too.

  69. Did Jennings somehow change his game before/after the catastrophic injury to make him not a terrible player?

  70. I would not want Brandon Jennings. He has a career TS% under.500, is injury prone and can’t play D. He’s a decent change-of-pace backup PG, a poor man’s Jeremy Lin.

  71. KP
    Rolo
    Melo
    Bazemore
    Jennings

    Sorry, who’s Jennings here?

  72. Seth Curry. He’s the best option on the market. Just sign Seth Curry and watch Hornacek do magical things with him.

  73. It looks like Isola has lost his mind. The comments aren’t cutting him any slack either. I think he’s crying in his beer on a regular basis.

    Have we heard anything from McLovin on the subject? I’d like to get his views on the situation.

  74. Did Jennings somehow change his game before/after the catastrophic injury to make him not a terrible player?

    He was playing well for Detroit that one specific season that ended with the injury, but yeah, since the injury he’s been back to being terrible.

  75. Hornacek is that he is the one candidate out of all of them that runs a modern offense.

    Unfortunately, though, modern offenses are point guard driven. I agree it’s best, but you need to give a modern coach modern tools. In 2008 we hired D’Antoni, and then denied him a decent PG for the entirety of his stay. That is as silly as running an antiquated offense.

  76. Let Hornacek play around with Grant, Wroten and whatever flotsam we get at PG for this season. If we’re patient, accept the PG market this summer is bare and wait till next summer we’ll be better for it.

    If Hornacek and Phil could get Lin on a good contract and convince Dolan to Zen (unlikely), I’d be good with that. I like Dellavedova too, but he’s an RFA and I don’t think he has a skill set or ceiling I’d be willing to overpay for.

  77. Would not be going near Jennings. TBH, I would be happy if we persisted with Grant. He hasn’t really been given consistent playing time yet. The jury is obviously still out on him, but we’ll never know what he can do if he doesn’t get the minutes. Wouldn’t be adverse to bringing back Lin on a friendly deal, but if we are looking to get a top tier PG, then I have no issue with sticking with the combo of Grant/Calderon/Galloway with Wroten maybe sprinkled in their to see what he can do. I would prefer not paying for a PG this season just for the sake of it.

  78. I like Dellavedova too, but he’s an RFA and I don’t think he has a skill set or ceiling I’d be willing to overpay for.

    Would love to have Delly on the Knicks, regardless of him being a fellow countryman. Has a handy skill set, but you are right about not overpaying for him. Being a RFA there is a huge chance we would need top overpay for Cleveland not to match. He’s a LeBron bro, so he’s pretty well ingrained with the players and the fans.

  79. So refreshing to think about free agency and not worry about whether players might fit with the triangle.

  80. Unfortunately, though, modern offenses are point guard driven. I agree it’s best, but you need to give a modern coach modern tools. In 2008 we hired D’Antoni, and then denied him a decent PG for the entirety of his stay. That is as silly as running an antiquated offense.

    Can’t agree with your first statement. Modern offenses need players who see the open man, who read defenses, and who hit open shots. Or they just dunk everything and rebound over everyone.

    Curry, Westbrook and Paul are the league’s best point guards, but the other best teams in the league are also led by outstanding wings: Durant, James, Leonard. Season well with some “will dunk anything lobbed in the general direction” players and baby, you’ve got a stew goin’.

    Curry isn’t great because he’s a point guard. He’s great because he shoots the ball and it goes in. The guy makes magic happen with any competent roll man. Durant is the same kind of beast.

  81. Whiteside is going wherever he wants. I would imagine either Miami or LA, but who knows.

    Vintage LBJ game tonight. Just physically overwhelmed Toronto. Sometimes I forget how astonishingly big that dude is.

  82. Assuming Golden State gets by OKC, we could be looking at one of the greatest NBA finals ever.

  83. Not sure if we could fit Batum and Baze under the cap if both Dwill and AA opt out (likely / hopful, respectively), but this is my dream scenario…

    KP
    Rolo
    Melo
    Batum
    Grant/Galloway

    Bazemore
    Hernangomez
    Lance Thomas
    O’Quinn
    Calderon
    Wroten

  84. Batum is old enough that the extra year CHA can offer him will probably ensure he doesn’t go anywhere

  85. I wonder where he’d rank all time in a ‘best 2nd round pick’ list. Got to be top 10 at least says my gut

    There have been a lot of great second round picks, especially earlier in NBA history when there were fewer teams so the first round was shorter. Hornacek would have a tough time making a top 10 that might include, say:

    Willis Reed
    Manu Ginobli
    Dennis Johnson
    Dennis Rodman
    Alex English
    Mark Price
    Tiny Archibald
    Calvin Murphy
    Hal Greer
    Mo Cheeks

  86. Dred — with the Max going to where it is, does the fifth year even matter that much — Batum will be well over 100mm in lifetime earnings by then. Never underestimate the power of money, but I think it will be interesting to see if players mindsets start changing with the dollars getting so big…at some point the marginal utility of the next dollar starts to become less important than other considerations including location, team, etc (not saying that we have all those licked).

  87. Charlotte can offer Batum $40,000,000 more than the Knicks, or anybody else, can.

  88. So refreshing to think about free agency and not worry about whether players might fit with the triangle.

    Right? It’s like we have to totally reset who the Knicks might be interested in. For instance, I had put the chance of the Knicks getting a decent point guard as so remote that I didn’t even think about it anymore. Now suddenly they might really be in the market for one.

    I want them to get this Hornacek contract done so we can find out if the Triangle is officially dead. Hornacek with the Triangle is better than having Rambis, but that’s about it. Hornacek running his own system? Great googly moogly, that’s great. So I’d like to get some confirmation that that is the case.

  89. Maybe without overtly admitting it to save face, Jackson concluded that his strict public adherence to the triangle was having a negative effect on free agency. He decided to hire Hornacek to quell any fears in the minds of p&r loving players.

    Didn’t the Knicks used plenty of p&r under Fisher when they were at .500 midway through the season?

  90. Maybe without overtly admitting it to save face, Jackson concluded that his strict public adherence to the triangle was having a negative effect on free agency. He decided to hire Hornacek to quell any fears in the minds of p&r loving players.

    Didn’t the Knicks used plenty of p&r under Fisher when they were at .500 midway through the season?

    They also used plenty of PnR when the went 1-9 when he got fired.

    Sometimes you guys are delusional. Phil definitely hired JH to save face. Does Phil seem like a guy concerned with public perception much?

  91. Sometimes you guys are delusional. Phil definitely hired JH to save face. Does Phil seem like a guy concerned with public perception much?

    Was thinking this all week. Phil schedules an interview with JH **before** anyone else, but sure, it was to save face. LOL smh

  92. The frequency of possessions that the Knicks finished with either the PNR ball handler or roll man increased after Fisher got fired. The entire idea that he got fired for trying to deviate from the the Triangle and Rambis ran strict Triangle is a complete myth.

    Whatever Fisher got fired for had little to do with how he was running the offense, but it sure was an easy thing to just point to and avoid having to answer tougher questions regarding it.

    Some of the conspiracy stuff people want to believe behind the intentions of hiring Hornacek is hilarious. Sometimes it’s just as simple as Phil meeting with him and being convinced he was the best man for the job.

  93. I think one of the players we should chase in Free agency is ALLEN CRABBE from Portland. He is a Unrestricted Free Agent. If anyone watched the Portland series with Golden State, you would understand. He Knocks down threes, He defends, hes long and rangy. He moves without the ball. He finishes layups at the rim. Unfortunately, with the cap ballooning every year, Everyone is getting overpaid. So he might command near 15 million on the open market. Hopefully we can get him for less. He fits the mold of a poor mans Danny Green, or Demare Carroll.

    Its going to be really hard as all of you know already to get the big name. It has nothing to do with Phil, or the Triangle. It has more to do with Money. Teams that hold the Bird Rights for their players can just Absurdly overpay for guys like Nic Batum. Anyone who shows borderline All-star level talent will get the max. Either from their team or some other team. (see Tristan Thompson). Hopefully in 2-3 years or so when the cap stabilizes these teams will have the pay for their financial blunders.

  94. So he is restricted, your right. Which complicates everything. However they have him and Maurice Harkless as restricted free agents. They both play virtually the same position. And both will probably receive competitive offer sheets. I wonder which one they keep, or do they match for both. Interesting.

    I say we resign Jeremy Lin over Rondo or any of those other options. He fits the uptempo system we want. We’d might have to overplay slighty but I’d rather overpay him than give Rondo near max dollars, who cant shoot.
    Dellavedova is a big NO. He’s a decent bench player but not what we need. Conley aint coming. Lets not kid ourselves. Maybe we can make a trade for a Darren Collison, or a Jrue Holiday. Brandon Jennings. Maybe, but thats a huge risk. I need to see the numbers.

    As we look at the options I think all of us have thought to ourselves. Maybe we do need to trade Carmelo, if only he would suck up his pride and wave the no trade clause. You think maybe the Lakers might be interested. Maybe for D’Angelo Russel and Julius Randle. Throw in some other guys to make the numbers work.

    Do the Bulls want Robin Lopez?

    At this point Hornececk is a good hire, but it comes down to the roster.

  95. Willis Reed
    Manu Ginobli
    Dennis Johnson
    Dennis Rodman
    Alex English
    Mark Price
    Tiny Archibald
    Calvin Murphy
    Hal Greer
    Mo Cheeks

    Of that list only Rodman is unarguably better than Horny, and a bunch of them aren’t even close. Then there are guys like Willis or Price who were better at their peak, but Horny was really good for like 12 years.

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