As the Knicks limp towards the end of the season, currently having lost 13 of their last 14 games, Jeff Hornacek assured the NBA that they need not worry about tanking from the Knicks. They're still trying to win.
The Knicks are intent on giving Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke more minutes in the backcourt ahead of veterans such as Courtney Lee and Jarrett Jack. Hornacek noted that the team is giving young players valuable minutes rather than explicitly trying to lose.
"There's a difference between tanking and trying to look at the future,'' Hornacek said, via Marc Berman of NY Post. "And we made trades to bring these guys in. We brought Trey in from the G-League and Emmanuel from another team. That's a totally separate thought process. We're seeing if they can play for us.''
Ntilkina received his first career start on Tuesday against the Trail Blazers, a game the Knicks lost 111-87.
"We're trying to evaluate our three young point guards," Hornacek said. "Moving forward, we got to make decisions on those guys. We have to play them as many minutes as possible. Jarrett has done a great job for us this year. But we're at the point of the season we need to take a look at those guys and give them bigger minutes. It's hard to judge them on five minutes here and there."
At the end of the day, the team is still trying to be competitive.
"We still want to try to win games,'' Hornacek said. "We want to see if our young guys can help us win games. It's part of the evaluation process. It's not like, 'Oh heck, if we put them out there we're going to lose games.' We still want to try to win and see if these guys can step up and help us win."