New York Knicks’ Jeff Hornacek Will Blend The Triangle With Phoenix’s Offense

Newly minted head coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters there will be aspects of the Triangle incorporated into the New York Knicks offense.

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK — Of the questions surrounding Phil Jackson‘s choice to hire Jeff Hornacek as the next head coach of the New York Knicks, one sticks out: “Will the Knicks run the Triangle Offense?”

In the two seasons running the offense, New York has won only 49 of 164 games and has ranked in the bottom six of the NBA in offensive efficiency. But Hornacek did not back down when asked about the system he will implement with the Knicks.

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“I wouldn’t call it the Triangle. You know, there’s a lot of aspects of the Triangle — spacing, the cuts off it, hitting the post — that are not unique to the Triangle,” he told reporters after his introductory press conference at the Knicks Westchester training facility. “I kind of laugh about it being a basketball coach because the court can be spaced in a different way. We can space it out farther and run a lot of things that I did in Phoenix. So there will be aspects of the Triangle. It’s basic reads.

“You can call it the Triangle, you can call it what Golden State runs. It’s the same stuff.”

During the six-hour-long interview process with Jackson, Hornacek said the two talked about basketball and ways he could combine¬†New York’s offense with what he ran as head coach of the Phoenix Suns. The former all-star guard¬†led the Suns to a 48-34 record in 2013-14, finishing second to Gregg Popovich in coach of the year voting with a pace-and-space offensive system.

Asked about the conversation he had with Jackson about the offense he would run in New York, Hornacek said: “It’s a combination of talking about what I knew about the Triangle sets, what I did with Phoenix in the offense and how it could be incorporated in the same system and how we could maybe blend those two together.”

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Hornacek said the team he had in Phoenix was designed to get up and down the court and thrive in transition but that this Knicks team can have the capability to grind it out in half-court situations.

“We’ll look at our players here. We’d like to find a nice blend of up-and-down basketball. And then when you do get in the half-court, you can really execute and run things and get into things maybe a little bit quicker. But it’s not going to reverse from one [play style] to another. It’s a good combination I believe will help us win.”

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Regardless of the offense, New York’s roster leaves much to be desired. Carmelo Anthony, 31, averaged only 21.8 points per game en route to being named an All-Star starter. The only two point guards on roster for next season are Jose Calderon (34) and Jerian Grant (23) and if Arron Afflalo opts out of his contract, the Knicks will not have a shooting guard on the roster.

“I think any time you’ve got a superstar, I think that gives you a chance. We have that in Carmelo,” Hornacek said. It’s just a matter of building around him to take it to other levels. I don’t think we’re that far off.”

New York has approximately $19 million in cap space to sign free agents with this summer. If Afflalo and Derrick Williams both opt out, the Knicks could have more than $30 million. A max contract this summer will be in the $23 million ball park.

“There’s a lot of money in the free agent market that’s out there. We have to try to maybe get a couple of these guys to help us out.,” Hornacek said. “You’re always looking for better players and if you could have five all-stars on your team, you’d be set.

“You have one on the team (Anthony), you have one that may develop from draft pick (Porzingis) and hopefully you can get one or two guys on the free agent market, and you’ve got a chance.”

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Kristian Winfield covers the New York Knicks for ESNY. You can start the conversation on Twitter @Krisplashed.

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