That’ll Do Phil…That’ll Do: 4 Reasons I Like The Jeff Hornacek Hire
It's the end of the world as we know it...but at least Knicks fans will feel fine because the apocalypse's commencement is due to the fact they actually made a smart basketball move.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that the Knicks hired former Phoenix Suns player and coach Jeff Hornacek to be the 28th head coach in the team's history. The New York media reacted accordingly.
While some have been quick to criticize the move as "same old Knicks", a move by Phil Jackson labeled as repetitive for a team hiring its 11th coach of the young century. However, it's wayyyyy too early to call the Hornacek hire a living hell. Rather, it could finally be a smart move by team whose smart moves, like Adam Sandler, have been at a premium since the late 90's...
He's Not Kurt Rambis
If a plebeian like you or I took over the head coaching reigns of an NBA franchise, unmitigated disaster surely would follow. However, should this ill-advised experiment be fortunate enough to last just over two and a quarter seasons of basketball, like Rambis's coaching career in the late 2000's/early 2010's did, I can say with confidence that you or I would be able to win more than 41 games. Rambis may have a memorable career as a player, but his foray into coaching will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The fact he was a serious contender for the full time job is a bit of a travesty.
He Can Do A Lot With A Little
Hornacek spent the past 2.5 seasons manning the helm in Phoenix, but it's not like he was blessed with a lineup featuring Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion. Phoenix was more of an island of misfit toys, recovering from the fun days of those aforementioned Nash teams that would put up 115 points a night (and give up 120, but that's besides the point). Manning one of the lower budgeted teams in the NBA, Hornacek, in his rookie year guided the Suns to a jaw dropping 48 wins, missing the playoffs due to the heavy Western Conference filled with dominant teams. Had Hornacek's team been in his new stomping grounds, the East, the Suns would've been in a 4th place tie.
He Can Transform Players Around Him
Having had solid playing career himself, while playing alongside legends like Karl Malone and John Stockton in Utah, Hornacek used the lessons he learned on the court and turned mere role players into solid contributors. When he took the Phoenix job, he had two talented lumps of wet clay named Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. A former NBA All-Star Long Distance Shootout Champion, Hornacek turned Dragic into a dangerous shooter from downtown. Further more, in a West dominated by scary point guards like Steph Curry, Tony Parker and Russ Westbrook, Hornacek helped Eric Bledsoe tap into his full potential. While the Suns were a smaller franchise, Hornacek still found a way to keep them competitive (injuries played a big role in this season's downfall and his eventual ousting). Now that he has Carmelo Anthony and Year 2 of Kristaps Porzingis on his side, the possibilities are endless.
He Has All The Experience, None of the Controversy
Have you ever heard of anyone hating on Jeff Hornacek? Whereas Derek Fisher had his share of detractors from not just his Laker days, but from personal issues as well (No, Matt Barnes, we don't need to hear this story again). His controversies proved to be his undoing, especially in New York. The lights never blinded Taylor Swift, but they sure blinded Fisher, who couldn't last two full seasons in the city. Hornacek, on the other hand, has the charisma and the smarts to navigate the city. He also emerges as an individual with nothing to lose. He already burned out (no pun intended) with the Suns, but still earned himself a promotion in the biggest media market in hoops, one that's starving for success. If it works, he's hailed a hero. If it doesn't, he just joins the list of also-rans in NYK history.
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