Jeff Hornacek made headlines Wednesday afternoon but not-so-subtly implying that that certain players who aren’t happy or comfortable with the triangle offense will be gone next season, as the organization will commit fully once again to the triple-post.
Hornacek said stubbornness from the players and his own reservations about the system hurt the Knicks this season.
At the beginning of the season, they ran “triangle aspects” out of dead-ball and other situations. Then they went away from it after players voiced their displeasure in a meeting with Jackson and Hornacek.
But after the All-Star break, the coaching staff went all in on the triangle, leading Porzingis to say there was “a lot of confusion.”
“Everybody coming into next year, we got to buy into the one way that we do it,” Hornacek said. “We probably tried to piece too many things together this year and we could never get it together quick enough. So we’ll look at everything next year.”
His big confession is that he tried to tailor the Knicks’ offense to his players’ strengths and preferences. And that was a mistake, you see...taking the players into consideration. It should be noted that the Knicks were 14th in the NBA in offensive efficiency when they started tinkering — slightly above-average and a giant step up from where the offense had languished over the past two seasons. The offense was never — I repeat, never — the Knicks’ problem. The Knicks’ brain trust even acknowledge this — they tried to sell the re-birth of the triangle as a way to help the team get back on defense. Never mind the fact most of the league plays a superior brand of D without changing their offense — the triangle has now become the solution to all problems.
Word on the street is that Hornacek has already wrapped up the head coach job for next season. A cynic would be inclined to think his sudden conversion to triangle orthodoxy had a least something to do with that. It’s hard to blame Hornacek, really — his predecessor as (non-interim) head coach, Derek Fisher, tried to institute his own ideas for the offense and got shit-canned. Want to keep coaching? Toe the company line.
The idea of a Knicks coach converting to the company line — even at the expense of a working strategy — is nothing new. We saw it from Mike Woodson in 2013, when he changed his representation to CAA, which pretty much ran the front office at the time. He stopped playing the lineups which had helped the Knicks win the Atlantic Division the previous year. The locker room allegedly was split between players represented by CAA and those who believed that CAA clients got special treatment from the coaches.
The Creative Artists Agency and the triangle offense would seem to have little in common, but the result has been the same — a coach bending to powerful, uncompromising special interests in the organization, leading to discord within the locker room. Maybe Jackson will find the perfect compliment of triangle believers next season so that Hornacek (and Kurt Rambis, of course) can realize this vision of perfect basketball. Then again, we used to believe that big free agents would sign in New York because the front office was tight with Worldwide Wes. Based on what we’ve seen these past three seasons, both of these ideas seem ridiculous.
Only with the Knicks could this kind of bullshit keep happening. Only the Knicks.