Jeff Hornacek is confident his team is on the verge of being competitive, and he's preaching patience on Wednesday in advance of what could be his final game as Knicks head coach.
"Sometimes people are wanting things to happen right away, but sometimes there's patience," he told reporters. "That's what we're looking for."
The Knicks stated before the beginning of this season that they are in a rebuild stage, and that showed with a very young roster led by star F Kristaps Porzingis. However, injuries and lack of talent saw the Knicks lose more than 50 games yet again.
But Hornacek believes the time seen by young players on the court, especially during the second half of the season, will be crucial down the road. As long as everyone can stay healthy, too.
""I don't think we're that far away," Hornacek told Newsday's Al Iannazzone. "We had the injury to KP, your best player. We had the injury to Tim [Hardaway Jr.] for a long time. That doesn't help the cause. Now those guys, hopefully they can come back. These guys got experience. You add a player or two. I don't think you're far off."
But will Hornacek still be the team's head coach next season? That will be a big question for the front office this offseason, as they may look elsewhere for someone to lead their rebuild. Hornacek was one of few personnel kept after the firing of former team president Phil Jackson, and GM Scott Perry and new team president Steve Mills may want their own guy leading the way.
In Hornacek's defense, though, he wasn't dealt a great hand at the start of his tenure. The Knicks were in disarray last season, and the injuries to key players like Porzingis and Hardaway this season, there wasn't much else Hornacek could do with his roster.
But Hornacek isn't focused on that at the moment. He is still looking to the positives of a season that saw so many negatives.
"A bright side of this season is these young guys got a chance to develop a little bit more," Hornacek said. "Play against some of these top teams in the league and get significant minutes against them. Going into next year they're not going to be fearful of any of these teams, of having a little shock out there going 'Wow, this is LeBron' or 'This is Steph Curry. This is [Russell] Westbrook.' They can just play. The experience was good for them."
Hornacek also gives credit to how hard his team has fought despite all the losing and adversity this season.
"Sometimes when you get late in the season guys are cashing it in," Hornacek said. "All of our guys wanted to continue playing, to play hard. You could get selfish during that time and just try to score but they didn't."
The Knicks conclude their 2017-18 campaign in Cleveland Wednesday night when they face LeBron James and the Cavaliers. For Hornacek, it may very well be his final game on the Knicks' sideline as well.