According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek believes Willy Hernangomez has earned more minutes.
One of the hardest jobs for head coach Jeff Hornacek in his first season with the New York Knicks has been managing minutes at the center position. Projected starter Joakim Noah has been a bust, and reserves Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn have been standouts off the bench.
Particularly Hernangomez has been an energizer with the second unit in transition. Despite his stellar play though the rookies playing time has still been sporadic. He posted a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) in New York’s win against Boston and took a DNP-CD in the next game.
Those days are gone.
According to Al Iannazone of Newsday, Hornacek believes that Hernangomez has earned more minutes with the second unit that he clicks with so well.
Sounds like Hornacek will start the same tomorrow, but he believes Willy Hernangomez has earned more minutes with second unit.
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) January 24, 2017
Hornacek mentioned what he liked about the rookie big man.
“He’s got great knowledge of the game, understanding and feel. He has no fear when he gets out there about who he’s playing against. When you have a guy who knows how to play the game, a lot of good things happen.”
Good things do happen when Hernangomez is out there. Per NBA.com, he has the highest net rating of any Knicks rotation player (by a lot). The Knicks are 3.8 points per 100 possessions in the 519 minutes with him on the court and -4.9 points per 100 possessions in the 1,704 minutes without him.
More minutes with Brandon Jennings is a good idea because the chemistry between the two of them is clear. In the 328 minutes they’ve shared the floor the team is outscoring opponents by 4.3 points per 100 possessions.
This play against Indiana is perfect evidence. These guys are in sync.
The Knicks are outscoring opponents by 3.8 points per 100 possessions in the 519 minutes with him on the court and they’re being outscored by 4.9 points per 100 possessions in the 1,704 minutes without him.
Obviously, the numbers are a little slanted because of all the time he’s missed due to riding the bench, but he’s clearly a valuable player.
Next up: On the road in Dallas on Wednesday to take on Harrison Barnes and the Mavericks at 8:30 p.m. ET.