It wasn’t so long ago that Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek, then presiding over the latest lost season in New York, stood in front of reporters and told them that it was a mistake to try to combine his own offensive concepts with Phil Jackson’s favored Triangle system, and implied that the team would be fully committed to the Triangle next season. That implication became even stronger when Malik Monk told reporters, to the great despair of all Knicks fans, that his private workout with the Knicks consisted entirely of Triangle sets.
Things have changed since then, though, and Hornacek is no longer under Jackson’s wrinkly thumb. After practice yesterday, the coach spoke to reporters who were eager to know if he still planned on carrying out Jackson’s legacy by forcing his team to run an outdated, inefficient offense. It does not seem like that will be the case (via The New York Times):
“We’re probably going to work on different things and add things, find an offense that fits.”
“When you look at the triangle and look at what it can do, there are a lot of options,” he said. “There are a lot of things you can do. You can take pieces of it.”
He went on: “We’re going to do a lot of things from last year and some new things, and we’ll blend it so it gives us some more space.”
That reads like an extremely diplomatic way of saying, “Now that I don’t have to worry about some old dumbass upstairs canning me for refusing to do stupid things, I’m going to go back to trying to implement the offense I wanted last season.”
More importantly, Hornacek emphasized to reporters that he wants the team to focus on improving defensively. This is good, because for all the talk about the Triangle that went on last season, it was the Knicks’ putrid defense that did them in. This was largely due to the fact that Kurt Rambis—a loyal Jackson lackey who really sucks at coaching basketball—was empowered by Jackson to run the defense. If Hornacek really wants to leave the Jackson era behind and start fresh, shoving Rambis into a broom closet would be a good start.