New York Knicks News Mix, 10/22/17: Hornacek On Benching Willy
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Willy Hernangomez #14 of the New York Knicks celebrate with teammate Justin Holiday #8 in the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden on April 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek spoke about his decision to play Willy Hernangomz less than ten minutes in the first two games.

The New York Knicks picked up right where they left off on defense from the preseason. It’s no surprise they’ve given up 100 plus points to both opponents. What is a surprise is the lack of playing time for Willy Hernangomez.

The first-team All-Rookie performer logged just four minutes of garbage time in the first two games combined. He’s stuck in New York’s logjam of centers behind Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek spoke about his decision to essentially bench Hernangomez against Detroit and Oklahoma City.

Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“Willy’s done well, (it’s) just something the other guys have done a little bit more. So the focus is on defense and that’s one thing that we want him to get better at as a young player. We’re trying to emphasize things to these guys that don’t get repeated. All of the sudden, ‘Okay, I see, I understand,’ and they fix it. And Willy’s working on that. He’s doing a great job. He comes to practice every day and practices hard. His opportunities will come.”

If the “focus is on defense” it’s strange that Kanter would be the starter given that he’s one of the worst defensive players in the NBA. But it’s not like Hernangomez is much better.

The sophomore was outplayed by O’Quinn and Kanter during the preseason. Hornacek naturally took that into account as well. It’s a tricky situation for the coach because Hernangomez is the future, but right now Kanter is the better player.

I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.