This week, the New York Knicks announced that its next coach would be Jeff Hornacek, the former head coach for the Phoenix Suns.
The hiring took many people by surprise with the New York Post outright calling the decision “a Phil Jackson stunner.”
Before tapping Hornacek, Jackson had reportedly been on the hunt for a coach for five weeks. Since Jackson took as over as the Knicks’ president, he has taken it upon himself to build a coaching staff that can implement his infamous Triangle Offense. But some sources are reporting that hiring Hornacek signals the end of the Triangle Era.
Jackson’s Triangle Offense is credited as the master strategy behind Jackson’s spate of championship wins in the nineties with the Chicago Bulls and as recently as 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
When Jackson took over as team president for the Knicks, he built a coaching staff that could also employ his time-tested winning approach. This time around, however, the triangle seems to be falling all the way flat.
This is Jackson’s second season as team president and many Knicks fans are disappointed that his leadership has yet to help the Knicks reach the NBA Playoffs.
Some people point the blame at the Triangle Offense, saying its an outdated game plan in 2016. Whatever the reason for what some say is yet another underwhelming season for the Knicks’, one fact remains: They haven’t won a title since 1973 and, with the hiring of Hornacek, fans are wondering if they should dare to raise their high hopes and expectations for the future.
The answer isn’t clear.
Hornacek’s firing from Phoenix Suns’ in February didn’t come out without its fair share of scandal and bad publicity. But sometimes public career embarrassments provide just the spark that people need to ignite an awesome comeback.
After all, Hornacek did win the NBA Coach of the Month award in December 2013 after leading the Suns to a 10-3 record. His influence guided the Suns to a 48-34 record in Hornacek’s first season as a head coach. Although the team missed the playoffs that year, Hornacek was the runner-up coach in the NBA Coach of the Year Award.
But what if the scuttlebutt about the end of the Triangle Era are not true? Does Hornacek have all the right ingredients for stirring up a batch of Phil Jackson’s secret championship-winning sauce?
Hornacek doesn’t have experience running the Triangle Offense during his time with Phoenix.
So, for that, he’ll have to turn to the Knicks’ interim coach Kurt Rambis who is likely to stay on board because of his triangle experience. “If the triangle returns,” reports sports writer Marc Berman, “Rambis has all summer to tutor Hornacek in an offense many NBA cognoscenti consider outdated.”
Although the Knicks playing strategy remains to be seen, many seem optimistic about Jackson’s decision to bring Hornacek on board.
Talking to SiriusXM radio, former Knicks coach said, “The things I’ve heard is that he’s not going to be required to run the triangle. Which is smart from the standpoint that he’s never taught it before. So you don’t want to come in trying something that you’ve never played in or taught. But I think it’s an inspired choice.”