The New York Knicks have signed former Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek to a three-year contract.
Along with Hornacek, the Knicks interviewed former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, and New York’s infamous interim coach, Kurt Rambis.
Hornacek was fired by the Phoenix Suns in January after an underwhelming start to the season caused by an injury plagued roster. He has an all-time coaching record of 101-112 in two and a half seasons with the Suns, and finished as the runner-up for Coach of the Year in 2013.
Interestingly enough, Jeff Hornacek might not be running Phil Jackson’s famed system in New York. On SiriusXM radio, TV analyst and former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy said he had “heard (Hornacek’s) not going to be required to run the triangle”. Jackson seems to be willing to change, first hiring a non-triangle head coach, and now allowing him to run whatever system he wants.
Hornacek runs a modern offense relying on shooters and fastbreak points. With the Suns he often ran sets with four on the perimeter, and had his players out and running on the break for quick and open shots. In his first year with Phoenix, he guided the Suns to the eighth most efficient offense in the league, scoring a lot of their points on the fastbreak or early into the shot clock. You can expect to see Hornacek run more sets resulting in Porzingis threes than seen under former Knick coaches Derek Fisher and Rambis. We’ll also likely see more lineups which will feature Carmelo Anthony at Power Forward and KP at Center, allowing the Knicks to really stretch the floor.
On the other side of the spectrum, Hornacek’s teams were too small and shot too many threes at times, allowing opponents to go on runs that could close out games.
Since New York is unlikely to acquire a star in free agency, Hornacek’s main focus as coach will have to be the development of Kristaps Porzingis, and being able to get him minutes with Carmelo Anthony. The duo of Melo and KP are by far the best pair of Knicks statistically, and need to get minutes together if the Knicks are going to win.