Carmelo Anthony may be 32 years old, but his new coach thinks he's still in his prime.
"We were playing in NBA Finals when we were 36, 37 years old [with the Utah Jazz]," Jeff Hornacek told Boomer & Carton on Friday.. "I think [Anthony] just turned 32, so he's right at that prime time for him. He's going to help to carry this team but we can't put it all on him. The other guys have to step up and if he's having a tough night the other guys are able to fill in."
Hornacek met Anthony briefly while interviewing with Knicks President Phil Jackson and said the two exchanged emails.
Hornacek is excited about the Knicks' frontcourt of Anthony, second-year forward Kristaps Porzingis and veteran center Robin Lopez, while stressing the Knicks need to upgrade their backcourt through free agency and possibly the draft.
"To see what [Porzingis] did last year and at 20 years old to see what he can do and Robin is a veteran player, I'm excited to se this team play and getting this team together," Hornacek said.
Still, as the Knicks groom Porzingis to be the face of the franchise down the road, Anthony holds that title for now. He has three years left on the $124-million deal he signed in 2014. His window to contend for a title continues to shrink.
Hornacek also understands it's important to be allied with Anthony, and playing a more uptempo style will probably help facilitate that.
"Obviously, when you have a superstar on your team on your side that's going to help," Hornacek said. "I like to stress to not only the superstars but to every guy on the team is, we're going to try to put you in the best position to succeed and whatever that is, whatever we can do to hep you succeed as a player within the team concept, that helps us win. That's a win-win for everybody. So with Carmelo he's a great player."
Hornacek was asked if the Knicks will try to mimic the Warriors' up-tempo style of play.
"Sure if we can trade for [Steph] Curry and [Klay] Thompson," he cracked. "Those guys are unbelievable the way they shoot the ball'
"Steve [Kerr's] done a fantastic job with letting those guys play."
Save for one season, the Knicks really haven't experienced success while attempting multiple mini rebuilds (or retooling, if you will) with Anthony as the constant centerpiece. Needless to say, it's been a trying time for the guys in orange and blue.
In a market as massive and with fans as passionate as New York's, the burden is certain to fall on the team's superstar. There's little denying Anthony has shouldered considerable blame. At times, it's been justified.
But it also can't be denied that the organization, be it both under Phil Jackson's guidance and others before him, have failed to surround Anthony with the worthwhile talent necessary to win. That goes for both the right choices in players and coaches.
Yet again, it's time for Anthony to start fresh under a new coach in Hornacek. It's important for a coach to recognize what their star provides, and how they can best supplement them to make up for what they may lack as well. Hornacek hints at his own understanding of that here.
It'd be nice for Anthony to have experienced more success already. That said, it'll be interesting to see his talents in a more free-styled run-and-gun offense. He's likely to do well, but it's unfortunate past failures have led he and the Knicks to this point.