Following an offseason that featured much upheaval throughout the organization, the New York Knicks are hoping for a fresh start this upcoming campaign.
A significant part of this will rely on the shoulders of head coach Jeff Hornacek, who is set to enter his second season with the Knicks. This aspect has only grown more important given that Phil Jackson is no longer hovering over the situation trying to implement the triangle offense into the game plan.
With that in mind, Ian Begley recently revealed on the Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski that there is still some skepticism from the Knicks players, as transcribed by Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk.
“I’ll say this, Woj: I can’t speak for every player in there last year, but there were guys who shared those opinions the way you just laid it out. Just, because there was so much vacillation throughout the course of the season about, how much are we going to run the triangle? Is Jeff going to be able to open up, which he did early in the season? But then you look at around the All-Star break. They started running more triangle, and it was clearly Phil’s influence. So, players looked at that, and they saw Jeff as not having enough authority to kind of stand up and say, “Hey, Phil, I’m coaching the team. This is how I want to run the offense. This is what I want to do.” I think if Jeff took that approach, he would have won this locker room over. But he didn’t, and I think that hurt him. So, that doesn’t go away – right? – just because Phil is not here. I think that impression, just from the few guys who shared it with me, I think is still there. I think Jeff has to show himself to be his own man this year, and I think every opportunity is there for him to do that. But he’s certainly under a microscope.”
It has essentially turned into a situation where Hornacek has to prove that he has the freedom to run his own offensive system away from the triangle offense. This will prove to be huge as it will allow him to gain the trust of the players and for them to buy into his game plan.
Ultimately, the ball is now in Jeff Hornacek’s court to prove to his players this season that he can provide the Knicks with the blueprint for success within his offense.