Sportress of Blogitude

Jeff Hornacek cracks WikiLeaks joke over odd Kurt Rambis situation


New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek used a politically timely joketo deny that Phil Jackson had anything to do with the decision to make Kurt Rambis his primary defensive assistant earlier this week.

“Call Wikileaks to look at my emails,’’ Hornacek said jokingly of the Knicks boss’ purported influence on the situation, via the New York Post. “Zero. He didn’t have anything to do with it.’’

All kidding aside — and the awkwardness that ensued in the wake of the announcement — the Knicks have stumbled out of the gate to a 3-4 record. While the offense is a reason for concern on some nights, most of the blame has been placed on the team’s woeful defensive play.

There are only three NBA teams that boast a worse defensive rating (108.5), which tracks the number of points allowed by a team per 100 possessions. The Knicks don’t fare much better in other prominent defensive metrics, either. Suffice to say, the Knicks boast arguably the worst defense in the Association.

The word out of New York is Hornacek felt his staff needed a defensive presence, as was the case with Mike Longabardi when Hornacek was head coach of the Phoenix Suns.

The initial take on Rambis running the defense is that his influence — which included eliminating switches on the pick-and-roll — helped improve play in Wednesday’s 110-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

“We got the one voice who’s talking about it, though the coaches are still doing their defensive game plan when they look at the team,” said Hornacek. “With Kurt being the one guy, if a guy has a question, you can ask him. It’s simplified. We simplified some other things. One game, it was OK.’’

While Hornacek did indicate things were “OK” in Rambis’ debut as defensive czar, the fact that Carmelo Anthony didn’t seem too impressed with the move arguably speaks volumes.

Obviously not a ringing endorsement, but Anthony is correct. Knicks players have no choice but to embrace Rambis’ “promotion,” good, bad or indifferent.

And if the Knicks can build upon the improved defensive play displayed in the second half of their victory over the Nets? So much the better.