New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant are on “opposite ends of the spectrum.”TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK — When Jeff Hornacek was named head coach of the New York Knicks Friday afternoon, he inherited a franchise that had won only 49 games in its past two seasons.
He also inherited a roster devoid of talent in its back court. The Knicks made Jose Calderon, 34, the NBA’s oldest starting point guard much of last season and started rookie Jerian Grant during the latter stretch of the year.
“Our point guard situation right now is Jose and Jerian, and they’re kind of opposite ends of the spectrum,” Hornacek told reporters in a press conference at the Knicks Westchester training facility. “We have a young player that’s obviously inexperienced and after his first year, he’s going to get better and better as years go on. And Jose’s kind of later in his career.
“If you can find a middle guys that can kind of bridge those two guys would be good. But again, there’s a lot of guys out there and I’m sure Steve (Mills) and Phil (Jackson) will look at everything.”
That sort-of bridge point guard Hornacek alluded to could be Tony Wroten, Jr., whom Knicks president Phil Jackson signed to a two-year deal toward the end of last season. His contract does not guarantee for the 2016-17 season until October 1, when Jackson, Hornacek and general manager Steve Mills have had a chance to look at Wroten play after rehabbing from an ACL injury.
Jackson said earlier in the year that he would not obsess over landing a marquee point guard this summer, that the team could “play without that.” Hornacek echoed similar sentiments when ESNY asked whether he thought the team needs an All-Star caliber point guard to compete for the playoffs.
“Not necessarily. You can have guys at different positions. The league is kind of a pick-and-roll league now,” he said. “But I think it only gets you to a certain level by having that dominant guard play. Unless you have two of the best shooters that have ever played in Klay and Steph, other than that you can be good, but I’m not sure that’s gonna get you a championship.”
In that case, the Knicks would not have a shooting guard on the roster, as Vujacic’s contract expires in July.
New York is set to have approximately $19 million in cap space this summer. That number could be more than $30 million if both Afflalo ($8 million) and forward Derrick Williams ($4.9 million) test free agency.
The list of free agent guards includes Rajon Rondo, 30; Mike Conley, Jr., 28; Jeremy Lin, 27; Brandon Jennings, 26; DeMar DeRozan, 26; Bradley Beal, 22; Eric Gordon, 27; Lance Stephenson, 25; Kent Bazemore, 26; and Courtney Lee, 30.