Jeff Hornacek tore into his team following a 115-103 loss to the Orlando Magic. The New York Knicks responded well at the first practice since his comments were made.
The New York Knicks are at a proverbial crossroads. There’s an immense level of talent and a respected head coach, but the Knicks have been unable to translate a winning formula into actual team success.
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Following a 115-103 loss to the Orlando Magic, head coach Jeff Hornacek made it clear that the Knicks’ lackadaisical effort is no longer acceptable.
34 games into the 2016-17 NBA regular season, the Knicks are still sluggish on defense. That manifested in New York falling two games below .500 by allowing one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA, Orlando, to score at virtual will.
In response to the Knicks’ dreadful performance against the Magic, Hornacek made the bold claim that New York needs to find players who can play defense.
Jeff Hornacek: "We have to find somebody who can play some defense."
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Hornacek had a change of tune and praised his players for responding for putting in a powerful effort at practice.
“We’re always taking a look at things,” Jeff Hornacek said when asked about lineup changes. “But we’ve got some dynamic offensive players out there and we’ve got some guys that are strictly defense to help us out. We just all have to get better. I think that first group is able to do that. They really put the effort in today. That’s very promising to see, so we’ll see.”
That’s a promising sign.
New York is allowing averages of 108.5 points per game and 107.2 points per 100 possessions. For perspective, no team over the past 10 years has made the playoffs while allowing more than 105.0 points per 100 possessions.
If the Knicks can even become an average defensive team, the talent should win out and result in an elusive postseason appearance.
Thankfully, the Knicks are responding well to Hornacek’s criticism and pushing themselves harder in practice.