Kristaps Porzingis: Jeff Hornacek gives Knicks ‘exactly what we need’
The announcement that the New York Knicks had tapped Jeff Hornaceck to be the team’s next head coach came as something of a surprising development for myriad reasons. But now that all the dust has settled, one very important Knicks player has publicly endorsed bringing in the former Phoenix Suns head coach.
Kristaps Porznigis, who indicated he was at first surprised by the announcement, came out to fully support the Hornacek hire during an interview with ESPN this week from his youth basketball camp in his home country of Latvia.
“There were a lot of names, coming up — David Blatt, [Frank] Vogel. Hornacek just came out of the nowhere,” he said. “I think it’s a really good decision from [team president] Phil [Jackson] and [GM] Steve [Mills].”
Despite whispers circulating that the team had reached out to the coaches mentioned by Porzingis, the prevailing belief was that Knicks president Phil Jackson would opt for continuity and remove the interim tag from Kurt Rambis and allow his protégé a shot at coaching the team for a full season.
Obviously, that’s not how things worked out, but Rambis reportedly will join the Knicks coaching staff as an assistant, presumably in part to help Hornacek incorporate at least some concepts from triangle offense.
In the end, though, Porzingis is looking forward to working with Hornacek.
“I think he’s a very smart coach. He knows how to use his players and that’s exactly what we need,” he said. “And we’ll see if we can get some more players this offseason. But I think we have enough talent and having [Carmelo Anthony] makes everybody better. So if we know how to go from there, using Melo, myself and involving everybody, using everybody’s strengths and putting it all together, then we’ll be a different team. We’ll be able to succeed.”
Carmelo Anthony may have been the most vocal of Knicks players concerning who the team would install as its next head coach. But the case can be made receiving Porzingis’ endorsement is much more beneficial to the the long-term future of the franchise.