Phil Jackson Opens Up About Hiring Jeff Hornacek
Adam Hunger, USATSI

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson opened up about the Jeff Hornacek hiring in an interview with Today’s Fastbreak’s Charley Rosen.

In an interview with Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak, Knicks president Phil Jackson opened up on his decision to hire Jeff Hornacek as head coach.

On Hornacek’s coaching style:

“Later on, when he became the head coach at Phoenix, I liked the way his players had freedom within a structure, which is exactly how the triangle should function. Jeff was a good system coach, something that I felt was absolutely necessary for whomever I would think of hiring. Jeff also had a very positive impact on young players, helping them to believe in themselves.

“I watched the way Jeff talked to his players during timeouts. He was positive, helpful and not interested in publicly embarrassing them. I also liked the way he spoke to his bench players during free throws and dead-ball situations. He was always a teacher. Even though Jeff had been an All-Star and a 20-point-a-game scorer, he has no ego, but he still knows that he’s had a great deal of success. It’s an admirable balance.

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On Kurt Rambis recommending Hornacek:

“It was Kurt Rambis who first suggested Jeff. They had played together in Phoenix for several seasons so Kurt had a good read on Jeff. The Suns’ coach was Cotton Fitzsimmons who had been an assistant at Kansas State under Tex Winter. So Cotton knew the triangle, ran pieces of it and believed in system basketball. It was there that Jeff teamed up with Kevin Johnson in a two-guard offense, which is how the triangle is formatted.”

On Hornacek’s Phoenix woes:

“Jeff had great success in his rookie season on the bench in Phoenix, leading the Suns to 48 wins. But last year (2014-15), the Phoenix franchise experienced a great deal of turmoil that was beyond his control. The Suns’ front office decided to trade Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic. Then the main guy they traded for, Brandon Knight, got hurt. I saw it all happening from a distance and, through it all, Jeff did a good job. He was left with inferior talent, but his guys played hard and tried to play the right way.

On what kind of offense Hornacek will run:

“In sum, I like our relationship. As far as his own game plan, all I did was to give Jeff the basic format that I like and he was enthusiastic about using it. But I understand that he has to coach what he knows how to coach. His plans for fastbreaks, early offense, build-up drills and the like are up to him.”

“I’m positive that Jeff has the expertise and the attitude that will play a crucial role in making the Knicks’ future a bright one.”

You can read Phil Jackson’s full interview here.

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