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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Articles tagged: Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek fires back at Derek Fisher for coaching criticisms

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is having none of his predecessor’s shade.

In an interview with Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report that ran on Monday, former Knicks coach Derek Fisher, who was fired by the team last season and eventually replaced by Hornacek, opened up about a number of topics. Among them was the job that Hornacek has been doing with the Knicks this season relative to the one Fisher himself did.

“We were able to take a team that wasn’t as talented as the team they have now, and we were much better and much further along than this group is that they have now,” Fisher said. “Because the foundation was being laid. That’s different than just trying to coach basketball—and it takes longer. That’s the part that you can’t measure in wins and losses either. That’s what we were doing the best at.”

But speaking with reporters on Tuesday, it was Hornacek’s turn to clap back, saying that Fisher had violated coaching protocol by criticizing others within the profession.

“Well, I wouldn’t do it,” Hornacek said, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “I don’t think a lot of other guys would do it. But certain guys will.

“There’s enough analysts, reporters, that always like to talk about should’ve, could’ve, what they did, so we don’t pay much attention to it,” he continued. “I think he’s probably also trying to put himself in a light that someone else will give him a job. That’s probably why he’s putting it out there.

“Whatever he did last year, he had a year and a half here — his relationship with Phil, whatever it was, again, this is a new year. Everything’s new,” Hornacek concluded. “Again, he may have thought he did something with that team from last year. I’m not concerned about that.”

Of course, Fisher has a history of not getting along with his peers, so it’s not too shocking that his comments didn’t sit well with the often-blunt Hornacek.

Image via New York Knicks on YouTube

Report: Derrick Rose and Jeff Hornacek had ‘major blowout’

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose’s absence from Monday’s Knicks-Pelicans game came as a surprise to many, according to reports, but now we’re learning about some of the circumstances surrounding his current standing with the Knicks.

Rose did not show up for Monday’s game at MSG, and many of his teammates, team officials and associates did not know why. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Rose was not happy about being benched in the fourth quarter against Milwaukee on Friday night. Rose played 26 minutes in a loss to the Pacers the next night.

According to SNY’s Tommy Dee, Rose and Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had a “major blowout” after that game.

Hornacek and Rose are both in their first years with the Knicks. Hornacek was hired as the team’s head coach in June, while Rose was acquired in a trade with the Bulls over the offseason.

The Knicks have their highest winning percentage since the 2012-2013 season but are 17-21 after Monday’s loss. Hornacek did not want to comment on Rose after the game until he had more information.

Did Jeff Hornacek get frustrated with Carmelo Anthony iso play?

Jeff Hornacek Carmelo Anthony

A video clip from the New York Knicks’ home loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday night is going viral and seems to show coach Jeff Hornacek getting frustrated with one of Carmelo Anthony’s decision.

During the third quarter of the game, ‘Melo waved off his teammates and called an isolation play for himself. As MSG pointed out, Hornacek, seen in the top left corner in the video, seemed to get frustrated as he turned his back after Anthony brushed aside his teammates.

Anthony is certainly a fantastic offensive weapon, but people have long criticized him for being a ball-stopper because of all his isolation plays. It didn’t help that he was having an off game going 6-for-17 shooting for just 19 points and a team-worst negative 14 plus/minus rating for the game.

Whether Hornacek’s reaction was to ‘Melo calling his own number is debatable, but what’s not is that Hornacek was definitely frustrated after the loss. He openly ripped the team’s defense after the game and wondered whether his squad could even defend.

Anthony wasn’t exactly stellar on that end against Orlando, either.

Hornacek recently backed Anthony publicly when his star player faced criticism from George Karl, but these few things make you wonder whether he’s also privately frustrated with the forward.

Jeff Hornacek on Knicks: ‘Maybe we’re just not capable’ of playing defense

Jeff Hornacek

The New York Knicks are in a free fall, and it’s coming as a harsh reality check for head coach Jeff Hornacek.

After a 115-103 loss to the lowly Orlando Magic Monday, Hornacek wondered out loud if his team was at all capable of playing any kind of defense.

“I have to find someone to play some defense,” Hornacek said, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “We’ve got to have better pride in that. I don’t think our guys aren’t trying. Maybe we’re just not capable of it.”

The Knicks are now losers of five straight games and have surrendered 100-plus points in each of those defeats. They’ve sunk to 16-18 on the year and rank a woeful 25th in defensive efficiency (per ESPN).

The team made this change early on in the season in the hopes of improving their play on the defensive end, but it ultimately appears to have been futile. That’s left Hornacek scrambling for answers that may have never been there to begin with, especially given the mega-decline of former DPOY Joakim Noah and the offense-first styles of Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony.

Jeff Hornacek backs Carmelo Anthony amid Karl criticism

Jeff Hornacek

Carmelo Anthony was having a rough day on Thursday with criticism from his former coach George Karl making headlines, but at least he has the support of his current coach.

In response to Karl’s criticism of ‘Melo, Hornacek was asked for how it’s been coaching Anthony on the New York Knicks. The first-year Knicks coach called Anthony “great” to deal with.

“Carmelo for us has been great. Whatever happened in the past that guys talk about I know none of that,” Hornacek said Thursday via ESPN’s Ian Begley. “All I can go by is what I’ve seen out of Carmelo here. He’s done everything we’ve asked, and what the coaches want him to do. He’s been a great leader for our team. So that’s it simply for me.”

Karl, who coached Carmelo in Denver for five-plus seasons until Anthony forced his way out with a trade, was critical of ‘Melo in his new book. Karl ripped Anthony for not playing defense and being a true leader of the team. Karl also was critical of Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith, pointing the finger at the upbringing both had. Martin has already responded.

There are a few things to note: Anthony’s reputation as an offensive-oriented player is nothing new, and it’s a shortcoming many analysts point out when evaluating his play. Secondly, ‘Melo was in his early-20s when Karl coached him and has spent his veteran years with the Knicks. Perhaps he’s grown as a player and become more willing to share the spotlight, which would lead Hornacek to have a different opinion of the superstar from Karl.

Jeff Hornacek says Phil Jackson is not meddling in Knicks’ practices

Jeff Hornacek

One of the big questions surrounding the New York Knicks was whether team president Phil Jackson would interfere in coach Jeff Hornacek’s practices and preparations. So far, according to Hornacek, that hasn’t happened.

“Phil’s been great,” Hornacek said Sunday, via Ian Begley of ESPN. “He’s not trying to take over and make us do anything. He’s given us the leeway. There are some things that we do that aren’t the triangle stuff [such as] our early [offense]. Quite honestly, we thought he would say, ‘Let’s not do that.’ Or, ‘Let’s not do that option.’ But he hasn’t said that at all.”

Hornacek said Jackson has been helpful in teaching but hands-off in implementing aspects of the triangle offense.

“We talk quite a bit, but he’s been hands off,” Hornacek said. “He gives some directions here and there. If he sees something or he says, ‘Hey, let’s take a look, clean this up, this particular action.’ So it’s good.

“It’s another coach out there — he’s run it for years and years, so when he sees something — really, he’s not coming in there saying, ‘Hey, change it to this,’ or ‘Change it to that.’ It’s good, additional information.”

Hornacek said when hired that his aim was to implement some of the triangle offense. That didn’t do much to silence those who questioned whether Hornacek would just be a Jackson puppet. We can’t be sure, of course, and things may change if the Knicks go south early, but Hornacek is fine with things for now.

Jeff Hornacek: Kristaps Porzingis’ shot has ‘improved greatly’

Kristaps Porzingis

The legend continues to grow for Latvian unicorn Kristaps Porzingis.

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek praised Porzingis’ improved shooting stroke as the team opened up training camp this week.

“I think he’s improved greatly from last year just watching him shoot,” Hornacek said of his hypertalented sophomore big man, per Ian Begley of ESPN. “He’s really feeling confident about the shot. His corner 3s seem like they’re automatic. The one 3 that he made and the other 3 that he missed that went in and out [in Thursday’s scrimmage], they both were from about 4-5 feet from behind the line. So he’s got the range.”

Porzingis, 21, is coming off an earth-splitting rookie season in which he averaged 14.3 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, and 1.9 blocks per game. He complemented those surface stats with 42.1 percent shooting from the field and 1.1 threes per game at a 33.3 percent conversion rate. While that kind of efficiency could still use some improvement, those are excellent numbers for a 7-foot-3, jump shot-oriented, first-year player.

The All-Rookie First Teamer also found particular success from the top of the arc last year with 73 of his 81 made threes coming from above the break.

“I think that’s a high-percentage shot for me,” Porzingis said of the above-the-break three. “Last year, Phil Jackson, he told me that he likes that shot. I wasn’t so sure about it at first. It was early in the offense. I didn’t know if it was the best shot. But once we saw the percentages, he said it’s a pretty good look if I get that. The bigs a lot of times, they’re giving me that space, then just take that shot. Once he said that I have his confidence in me, and it was just, ‘Let it go.’ I’ll probably do the same thing this year.”

That kind of confidence, both from up top and from the corners, will be of the utmost importance as Porzingis looks to continue the climb in his sophomore season towards his rightful throne as an elite stretch five. For what it’s worth, comparisons are often drawn between Porzingis and Dallas Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki, perhaps the sweetest shooting seven-footer of all-time. For his part, Nowitzki shot just 40.5 percent from the field and 20.6 percent from deep as a rookie but improved those splits to 46.1 percent and 37.9 percent respectively by his second year. Porzingis was already ahead of that development curve as a rookie (walls notwithstanding) and will hope to follow a similar trajectory of improvement shooting the basketball in 2016-17.

*Stats courtesy of*

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