Carmelo Anthony thinks change, and a change of pace, will be good for the Knicks.
Anthony has endorsed the anticipated hiring of Jeff Hornacek as the Knicks’ new coach. They offered the former Suns coach the job last week and are working on contract details. An announcement is expected in the coming days.
“Everybody knows he likes to play an up-tempo pace of game, likes to get out in transition, likes to speed the game up a lot,” Anthony said in an interview with NBC’s Bruce Beck that aired Saturday. “So from that standpoint, I’ll definitely be looking forward to that.”
Under team president Phil Jackson’s watch, the Knicks have run the more halfcourt-oriented triangle offense the past two seasons. They ranked last in points per game (91.9) and 28th in pace two seasons ago under Derek Fisher and were 27th in scoring (98.4) and 26th in pace this past season with Fisher and Kurt Rambis coaching them.
The Suns scored more than 100 points per game in the 2½ seasons that Hornacek guided them and were in the top 10 in pace. Hornacek, who was 101-112 with Phoenix, utilized small ball, playing with two point guards. The floor was spaced and the Suns were a high-volume three-point shooting team.
As currently constituted, the Knicks don’t have the personnel to play that style consistently, though. They need better shooting and penetrating point guards, although Jerian Grant should flourish under Hornacek.
Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis should benefit from the Knicks playing more of a two-man game, which Hornacek is used to after playing for and serving as an assistant coach under Jerry Sloan.
This doesn’t mean the Knicks will scrap the triangle, but they definitely will have a different look than they would have if Rambis had been given the head-coaching position after finishing the season as interim coach.
Anthony, who said last month that he doesn’t even like saying the word “triangle’’ anymore, sees the change as an opportunity for the Knicks to end their three-year playoff drought.
“It sets the stage for us to do that,” he told NBC. “[It’s a] new opportunity, something new to play with, something fresh, a clean plate. So hopefully we can build off of this momentum.”
Anthony had gone on record many times as saying he wanted to see the Knicks have an open coaching search. He also said he wanted to have some input, but Jackson didn’t contact him.
“Whatever Phil did, he did on his own,” Anthony said.
Jackson interviewed former Cavaliers coach David Blatt and former Pacers coach Frank Vogel for the position. He also spoke with Warriors assistant Luke Walton, who will move on after the playoffs to become the Lakers’ head coach.