Canned: Jeff Hornacek fired by the Knicks
Early Thursday morning, the New York Knicks officially relieved Head Coach, Jeff Hornacek, of his coaching duties. Additionally, the team decided to part ways with Associate Head Coach, Kurt Rambis, as well. This latest move is unsurprising. Fans have heavily speculated, throughout the course of the season, that Hornacek would be fired. Recently, Courtney Lee came out defending his coach in a press conference. He stated that Hornacek is not to blame for the team’s poor record. However, the Knicks disagreed, finding that their vision would best be executed by someone else.
The Slow Build
Hornacek, as the Knicks President Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry stated in their announcement, “is a true professional who has worked tirelessly for this organization for two seasons.” As head coach, he had to deal with the tumultuous situation between Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony last season. This year, Hornacek did his best to develop the team’s young talent, as the front office directed. With the plan going well in the first few months of the season, the Knicks were unable to maintain afloat. Injuries abounded, resulting in the team dropping from the fifth seed in the East to the 11th. Kristaps Porzingis going down with an ACL tear essentially ended the Knicks’ season in February. Since then, Hornacek had to do what he could. The Knicks were clearly not pleased enough to keep him.
On the Horizon
With Hornacek out of the picture, the Knicks will be looking to replace him with the most capable candidate. With the team presumably taking the ninth pick in the draft, their next coaching choice will be crucial to the continued development of their young talent. Depending on the next head coach and the team’s draft pick, the Knicks could be scary when Porzingis returns from injury. Until then, any success the team thinks it may achieve with a new coach is purely speculative. Obviously, turning around the losing record that Hornacek had (60-104) is immensely important to the team. However, the team also must recognize the uphill battle that Hornacek faced and understand that a new coach will not miraculously turn the organization around. It is a group effort that the front office needs to be fully in support of.
With all the shake-ups the team has gone through in the last two seasons, hopefully this is the last one for a while. Old wounds need to heal and once the dust settles from this latest move, the Knicks need to focus on building a stronger organization. Sticking to their vision of a developed, young core, is the best plan that the Knicks have right now. Finding a coach to execute that plan is certainly a winning formula.