LeBron James paid a backhanded compliment to Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek for his newfangled, high-speed offense thats not the triangle.
And Hornacek didnt tip-toe around the issue any longer, that former president Phil Jacksons methodical system offense has been completely scuttled, though scouts say they still run some triangle actions on post-ups.
Were not running the stuff we did last year with the mix of plays, said Hornacek, whose club is off to a surprising 7-6 start and playing host to Utah on Wednesday. Our guys are feeling comfortable with what were running. Were going to get better at that. Its a style most of those guys like to play. It makes it easier for them. Even in this system, theres a lot of teaching we have to do. We have to continue to learn the little things that will make it easier especially in pressure times like (against the Cavaliers).
After James spearheaded a comeback from 23 points down Monday at the Garden, he couldnt help but take one last dig at the Zen Master, whom he despises for his treatment of buddy Carmelo Anthony and calling his management team a posse. James regarded it as a racist remark.
After the game, James, when asked how the Knicks look, said, I think Jeff Hornacek is finally with the release of the old fella hes finally allowed to implement what he wants to do on the team. Its showing. Its very effective.
Ironically, after their 0-3 start, the Knicks looked as confused as last season when Hornacek tried to blend the maligned triangle with his own offense, calling it triangle aspects.
But after that hideous loss in Boston Oct. 24th, players spoke out publicly that some guys didnt know the plays. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee were the most vocal. Hardaway called it just running like we dont know whats going on.
Now the Knicks rank 9th in offensive efficiency, according to teamrankings.com. They were tied for 19th in the same metric last season.
Its a full 180, Hardaway said. Its great. A lot of guys are taking each possession in practice very serious. Were building our game. Were building a culture here. When we step in this practice, we are all ears and minds are open. Everyone is giving their input and everyone is locked in on both ends of the floor.
That players were vocal about the offenses lack of cohesion forged a new diligence. It also promoted a new point guard, as Jarrett Jack was promoted and Ramon Sessions banished.
I think it was important for us as ballplayers to know that as a team, Hardaway said. I think as a ball club you have to look at it as your guys want the best of you. And your teammates want the best for the team. It wasnt people picking and choosing. It was a team, including myself and Courtney. It was great to see everyone go back to the drawing board and practice and having that positive energy and mindset and making sure it doesnt happen again.