Hello! The Knicks just had a press conference in which Phil Jackson and Steve Mills introduced Jeff Hornacek as their new head coach, then took questions from media. If you missed it, you missed nothing. It was a press conference. I'll drop video in here as soon as it's up, though, and I've got some notes for you in the meantime:
- Jackson suggested that Hornacek was actually the first coach he spoke to -- in LA around when Hornacek's daughter was graduating from USC. That led to a video chat with Steve Mills, which led to another meeting in New York. At some point there was a six-hour conversation about basketball philosophy and stuff.
- After Brian Mahoney, who always asks the first question, asked the first question, Marc Berman hopped on the mic and made Jackson and Hornacek giggle with a brusque 'n' hasty Triangle query. Both responded as any reasonable person would: The Triangle philosophy can coincide with many other philosophies. Hornacek will incorporate some of its tenets into his offense, just like everyone does. He referred to it repeatedly as "just a way to space the floor" and said "you can run a lot of things out of it." Hornacek also said his offense will depend a lot on the players on the team and that he'd blend "up-and-down" basketball with halfcourt principles. Amazing!
- But yeah:
Asked Hornacek abt his view of pick & rolls, since Phil feels theyre used 2 much in todays NBA. "I think a bigger dose of it could help us"— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) June 3, 2016
- This was interesting: When asked to reflect a bit on Derek Fisher and how that hiring and firing relates to this one, Phil noted that he'd looked at the old Indiana model -- wherein Larry Bird backed himself with Rick Carlisle and Dick Harter as coordinators -- when helping Fisher build his staff (he named Jim Cleamons and Kurt Rambis). He's not doing that with Hornacek, because he has experience and "already knows how to run a practice."
- Speaking of Rambis: Jackson and Mills both reiterated that he was strongly considered for the head coaching job (although the way Phil worded things, I think it was clear *he* was the one doing the strong considering.) Hornacek said he knows Rambis, has talked to him, and will continue to talk to him, but gave no indication of whether or not Rambis will be on his staff. Certainly, it doesn't sound like Phil is going to appoint him to that role.
- Berman asked Phil something about "transformational leadership," and this was part of Phil's answer:
I don't know. The man picks and chooses which questions he'll answer coherently.
- Hornacek sounds pretty giddy about coaching Kristaps Porzingis as he should. Between the presser and follow-ups, he mentioned using Kristaps in the pick-and-roll, letting him fade to shoot threes, posting him up against smaller players, making him run the floor, and letting him slide over to the five. Also this, off camera:
Hornacek says of Porzingis' size, skill set: "Why can't he be a top-5 player in this league? Why can't he be the top player in this league?"— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 3, 2016
They've been texting, too.
All fine. It was a press conference. No news was going to break, no one was going to offer heavy details about their plans or philosophies. Those sorts of questions will be answered in practice.
Welcome to the Knicks, Jeff Hornacek.