Jeff Hornacek Fails the Knicks on Opening Night
When the Knicks brought in Scott Perry to be the team’s new general manager the goal in mind was to build for future success. This meant the 2017- 2018 season was not about wins or losses.
The idea of “winning matters” this year was thrown out the window after the Phil Jackson debacle forced the Knicks to trade Carmelo Anthony for 10 cents on the dollar.
Scott Perry did the best he could in acquiring Doug McDermott, Enes Kanter and Chicago’s 2018 second pick. However, both McDermott and Kanter cannot provide the same value as Anthony.
Any Knicks fan watching the season opener had to be furious with Hornacek. Knicks fans know this season is about development of younger assets while the front office is quietly rooting for a top five selection in this year’s draft.
Last night’s rotation was simply a terrible coaching job by Hornacek. Hornacek's first mistake was starting Enes Kanter over Willy Hernangomez. You know the same Hernangomez who was a first team all-rookie selection a year ago. Well, Hernangomez did not check in until the final four minutes of the fourth quarter when the game was well decided.
Is there a logical explanation on why Hornacek is not playing Hernangomez and Porzingis together? That’s what Knicks fans want to see. Knicks fans want to see if Hernangomez is a foundational piece in the frontcourt for years to come.
Giving Hernangomez four minutes on opening night is a complete joke. How is Kyle O’Quinn playing over him? O’Quinn and Kanter both played 22 minutes each while Hernangomez had 4 minutes.
Even Reggie Miller, who was calling the game on TNT last night, was dumbfounded Hernangomez did not see action.
If Hornacek was actually a good NBA coach, he would realize that Kanter thrives as the first big man off the bench. That’s the role he played in Oklahoma City and was highly effective at it. Kanter is a defensive liability but talented offensive scorer. He should be playing off the bench to help the second unit score.
The second huge error was barely even giving Frank Ntilikina any minutes. The team’s 8th overall pick in a rebuilding year played 8 minutes. That just has to change. In a year, where the priority should be giving young players minutes simply did not happen on opening night.
Ntililikina should be getting Ron Baker’s minutes. Baker is nice player but is not really a point guard and is definitely not a 23 minute per game player. Baker is a guy who should play 10-15 minutes a night for defensive purposes and should not be running the offense.
Hornacek needs to adjust his lineups. He was experimenting way too much in the Preseason and it's clear and obvious, he still does not know how to manage a rotation.
One thing is for sure, Hernangomez and Ntilikina should not be playing a combined 12 minutes a game. For the sake of Hornacek, he better adjust for the home opener vs the Pistons on Saturday night or he’ll be booed right off the court from the Garden faithful.