The Knicks officially introduced Jeff Hornacek as their new coach today, with team president Phil Jackson telling reporters that he found the demeanor and leadership qualities he was seeking in the former Suns coach, Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press relays. “That a comfort zone was possible, and I think the basketball knowledge that he has and the familiarity he has playing basketball are things that attracted us together,” Jackson said. “This is a coach who can teach and also has an idea of what kind of practice he wants to run and how he wants to do business.”
Hornacek acknowledged the team currently lacks the personnel required to sustain his up-tempo system, adding that he hopes his style of play will attract free agents to New York, Mahoney notes. “My hope is now that I’m here that we can get some of those players to come in here and if you want to win, what better place to win than New York,” Hornacek said. “So to me it’s a great opportunity and the excitement level, I know we can do great things.”
Here’s more out of the Big Apple:
- The new head coach was initially surprised when Jackson contacted him regarding the position, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com notes (ESPN Now link). Hornacek said he hadn’t talked a lot with Jackson previously and expected first conversation with him to last maybe an hour or two, but their initial chat ended up being closer to six hours in duration, the scribe adds.
- Jackson told reporters that former interim coach Kurt Rambis was under serious consideration for the head coaching post, adding that Rambis may remain with the team as an assistant under Hornacek, Ian Begley of ESPN.com tweets.
- Hornacek expressed his excitement at the prospect of coaching Kristaps Porzingis, adding that the big man has the potential to be a superstar in the NBA, Youngmisuk and Begley relay in a separate piece. “His ceiling -– wow,” Hornacek said regarding Porzingis. “I don’t want to put pressure on the kid but let’s face it: At that size, and his skills, and his abilities, why can’t he be a top-five player in this league? Why can’t he be the best player in this league? He’ll continue to grow over these years. He’s 20 years old. He’s got a lot of things he’ll learn just from experience and I’m sure five-to-six years from now you’ll be saying, ‘Look how good this kid is.’ He’s already good.”