Coach Jeff Hornacek is planning to use nine or 10 players in his rotation, which means some Knicks won’t get the playing time they’re expecting, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Three starting slots seem to be set heading into Thursday’s opener, with Kristaps Porzingis at power forward, free agent addition Tim Hardaway Jr. at shooting guard and veteran Ramon Sessions at point guard because first-round pick Frank Ntilikina missed much of the preseason with an injuries.
Hornacek hasn’t decided whether to make Courtney Lee his starting small forward or go with a bigger option such as Lance Thomas, Doug McDermott, Michael Beasley or Mindaugas Kuzminskas. At center, Enes Kanter, Willy Hernangomez or Kyle O’Quinn are all in contention for the opening-night start, and Joakim Noah may join the rotation once he returns from his suspension. Begley suggests that Hornacek will have some disappointed players to deal with regardless of what he decides.
There’s more out of New York:
- Hernangomez got the least playing time of the three centers during preseason, but that doesn’t mean the minutes will be divided that way going forward, Begley notes in another ESPN Now post. Hornacek wanted to see how Kanter, who was acquired from the Thunder three weeks ago, would fit with his new teammates. “We know what Willy can do with a lot of our players, especially [Kristaps Porzingis and others] that were here last year,” Hornacek said. “We’re trying to see Enes with that group.”
- Marc Berman of the New York Post expects Lee to get the start on Thursday as Hornacek tries to add speed to his defensive unit. That means Lee will be matched up with former teammate Carmelo Anthony, who was traded to Oklahoma City last month. Hornacek plans to use different starters at the three spot depending on matchups, but Lee is confident he can guard anybody. “We got to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “If somebody’s starting at small forward that’s 6 [-foot-] 10 and starts posting me up, it only makes sense to get a bigger body on him. But if you put me on anybody, I’m going to fight him. I’m going to try to get the stop. That’s my job. Maybe I am blocking that 6-10 guy’s jump hook and I stay in.”
- After waiving Trey Burke on Saturday, Knicks are hoping he will play for their G League affiliate in Westchester, Berman adds in the same story. Burke didn’t sign with New York until Wednesday, and Hornacek believes he needs more evaluation before giving him a roster spot. “Trey was probably in a tough position there coming in at the last minute,’’ Hornacek said. “The other guys are able to show some stuff. We like Trey, what we can do.”