Jeff Hornacek Must Prove Himself to New York Knicks

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Sept 02 2014: Phoenix Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek gives a Mercury fan a hi-5 courtside. The Phoenix Mercury host the Minnesota Lynx in the 3rd game of the Western Conference Finals played at US Airways Arena in Phoenix, AZ. The Mercury defeat the Lynx 96-78 to advance to the WNBA Finals. (Photo by Bruce Yeung/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

Phil Jackson is no longer with the New York Knicks. That also means the triangle offense will no longer be pushed and forced upon. The roster did not want to run any form of the offense because that was not their preferred style of play. But along with the players, another person must be relieved of no longer trying to implement the triangle. The person is the head coach, Jeff Hornacek.

Jeff Hornacek Must Prove Himself to New York Knicks

Since the day he was hired last summer, there has been always questions as to why Jackson hired Hornacek. This coach did not run any triangle offense with the Phoenix Suns. During the press conference last year, he stated he would adapt to running a form of the triangle offense.

Once the season began, the Knicks started off well. On Christmas Day, the Knicks were 16-13. They were running more pick-and-rolls with Derrick Rose. The offense was more fast-paced than it had been in the previous two years under Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis.

The Inability to Recover

However, then Jackson urged the team to run more triangle sets. The offense slowed down and spacing was poor. The Knicks never recovered and were never above .500 again. It was mind-numbing to watch the Knicks, while teams like Golden State and Cleveland ran wild and shot record-setting three’s.

However, with Jackson gone now, it is time for Hornacek to step up. He has to implement his offense, his philosophy, and his own schemes.

He shows glimpses of being a good head coach. In his first year with Phoenix, he finished seven games over .500 in the much stronger Western Conference. His team would run the ball up and down the court. He utilized his young guards and won a lot of games. Before he become head coach, the Suns won 25 games. In his first season, they won 48, an improvement of 23 games. If they were in the Eastern Conference, the Suns would have been top 4 with their 48 wins and in the playoffs. Instead, they finished in the 9th seed and missed the playoffs.

Rebuilding With the Young Pieces

Hornacek can work with Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, and all the other young guys on this team. This youth movement can help him resurrect the success he had with the Suns, especially in the weaker Eastern Conference.

Without anyone looking over him or stepping over his authority as head coach, Hornacek has no excuse this year. However, even though they might not win more games, they can still improve. Their movement on offense, spacing, team continuity, and defensive intensity can be improved. This is a direct reflection of the head coach.

This is Hornacek’s team. It is up to him if he should remain the head coach through the rebuild and help with the long-term success of this franchise, or will he go down as another head coach unable to take the Knicks to the promise land.

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