Q&A: Jeff Hornacek

Courtesy of Jody Genessy

On what it feels like facing the Jazz:

“It’s always a fun game. A lot of those guys when I was an assistant coach, Derrick (Favors) and Gordon (Hayward) and Alec Burks, those guys are still there. That’s a testament to the Jazz keeping those young guys together. It’s always a fun game to see the Jazz out there. You’re saying, ‘OK, I was a big part of that organization for a while there.’ It’s always special playing these guys.”

On Gordon Hayward, whom he used to work with when he was a Jazz assistant:

“Gordon’s a great player. He’s improved every year in the league. If he wasn’t in the West, he probably would’ve been an All-Star by now. He’s a guy that has the length. You tend to forget that he’s almost 6-9, can play a two guard. His development has just kind of been, just like all young guys, the game has slowed down for him. It seems very easy for him. He knows exactly what he’s doing out there in pick-and-rolls, where to get his shots, whether to take the big shots. Gordon’s a great player.”

On whether he ever wondered if his first head-coaching job would be with the Jazz:

“I didn’t know if I’d ever coach in the NBA at all, assistant or anything, so when Jerry (Sloan) and Phil (Johnson) quit back then (in 2011) and Tyrone asked me if I would just stand in. I was kind of just enjoying coming there once a week and working with Andrei (Kirilenko) and those guys. It was kind of ‘OK, now’s an opportunity. Maybe I will do this.’ It’s been a little bit of a surprise to get the head job in Phoenix and now here in New York. I’m just lucky, I guess.”

On being a shooting coach with the Jazz:

“They called me up basically because Andrei Kirilenko was having some shooting woes, I guess. So they asked me if I would come up there and work with him. I told them one reason I quit playing was so that I could spend more time with the family, but I could come up (from Phoenix) once a week and work it around the kids’ games. It was great to be around that. I wasn’t on the court coaching. I was with Andrei before and after. Other guys wanted to do stuff. I was in that role for a couple of years. When the coaches quit and Tyrone (Corbin) took over, they needed somebody else on the bench. They said, ‘You know the plays, you know the guys, do you want to stick around?’ So that’s what I did.”

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