Jake Brown | Twitter |
If coaches were judged off the first 30 games of the season, Jeff Hornacek would be in solid shape. Unfortunately for him, it's an 82-game season. And after that 30-game mark, he's been one of the worst coaches in the NBA.
After a 16-13 start in his first year coaching the Knicks last season, they went 15-38 the rest of the way. This season, after an impressive 17-14 start, they have gone 6-17. They find new ways to not only lose on the road, where they are an embarrassing 7-21, but now they're finding new ways to lose at home too, where they are 16-10 after starting 15-5.
At 23-31, the Knicks have 28 games remaining, and are four games behind the Sixers for the final playoff spot in the East. The season has quickly slipped away from them after they had me and almost everyone fooled for being a potential playoff team. The chances the Knicks have a miraculous 28-game stretch and make the playoffs are slime to none, especially considering only eight of their 28 games left are against teams below .500. Even those eight games look difficult, considering they choked in a home loss to the worst team in the NBA on Sunday afternoon.
This season should be about seeing what you have in a couple of the young guys like Frank Ntilikina, Willy Hernangomez, and Trey Burke.
It's also almost certainly going to be Hornacek's final 28 games on the sidelines with the Knicks.
While I truly think Hornacek should be canned now, there should be no trust in Kurt Rambis to man the sidelines the rest of the season. We have seen it before and it wasn't pretty. That's the only reason why Hornacek will probably get the rest of the season to coach the team. Once game 82 is done, the Knicks should have a plan in place to go in a different direction -- whether that's Mark Jackson or someone else.
When a team collapses like the Knicks have done in Hornacek's two seasons after looking like a potential playoff team, the coach has to get the blame. This team has lost composure, chemistry, confidence, and even have Hernangomez asking for a trade and Joakim Noah essentially being asked to leave.
The fans don't like Hornacek, and it's been made pretty clear the players aren't too fond of him, either. Noah deserves a chance to redeem himself and show us what he's got. He never got the chance. Hernangomez is young and deserves the chance to get minutes off the bench. He never gets the chance. Ntilikina deserves the chance to start. He has never got the chance. Trey Burke deserves the chance to play consistent 20-plus minutes every night. He almost never gets the chance. The list goes on and on, and things don't change. We have been forced to watch Jarrett Jack start and had a stretch where Lance Thomas was starting. It's inexcusable, and actually pretty pathetic from an NBA head coach.
Not to mention, the Knicks are horrendous after timeouts. The players deserve some of the blame, but the fact that it happens all the time is quite alarming. I've never seen a team fail to execute plays after timeouts and look so lackluster, and that falls on Hornacek. I can go on and on with the constant mistakes Hornacek has made with the team, but we would be here all day. And this is why Hornacek will almost certainly not be coaching the Knicks next season.
The search for a new head coach should essentially start now, and the Knicks need to go in another direction and bring in a different mentality if they want to make this a playoff team again.