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Jeff Hornacek to Knicks: Takeaways from Coach's Introductory Press Conference

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2016

New York Knicks general manger Steve Mills, right, Jeff Hornacek, center, and president Phil Jackson, left, pose for photographs during a news conference to announce the hiring of Hornacek as the team's head coach Friday, June 3, 2016, in Tarrytown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The New York Knicks formally introduced Jeff Hornacek as the team's new head coach at a press conference Friday afternoon, and the former Phoenix Suns boss explained why he's optimistic the franchise can turn a corner following three straight losing seasons.

But before Hornacek could step to the podium and break down his vision for the club, he posed for a ceremonial photo with Knicks President Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills, as documented by Newsday's Al Iannazzone: 

Al Iannazzone @Al_Iannazzone

Knicks press conference https://t.co/a98tBVa3Y3

"I always admired his skill [and] basketball knowledge on the floor," Jackson said at the start of the press conference, according to the team's official Twitter account

NBA TV on Twitter shared video of Hornacek's opening statement: 

NBA TV @NBATV

"We're excited to get this going." - @nyknicks coach Jeff Hornacek https://t.co/jNAMpLzQSc

When it came time to dissect how the team's offense will operate under his tutelage, Hornacek didn't shy away from embracing triangle tactics even though he's not a member of Jackson's coaching tree, according to the Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring: 

Chris Herring @Herring_NBA

Hornacek, on triangle: "To me, its just a way to space the floor." Says you can run any play you want out of that style of offense.

In a more definitive statement, Hornacek told reporters the triangle "will be part of our offense," per the New York Daily News' Frank Isola 

Iannazzone provided an overview of Hornacek's general sentiment about the team's preferred style of play in the half court: 

Al Iannazzone @Al_Iannazzone

Knicks will still be running principles of triangle offense. Hornacek told Phil he has some things he'd like to run out of the triangle.

ESPN.com's Ian Begley also noted Hornacek talked about implementing pieces of the offense he ran with the Suns, including "quick pace" and "significant [pick-and-roll] usage." Furthermore, Hornacek said he would like his players to play "hard-nosed defense" so they can get out in transition, according to Iannazzone

As for the team's overarching goals, Hornacek made it clear the team has one big priority during his first year on the bench, per the team's Twitter account:  

NEW YORK KNICKS @nyknicks

Hornacek: "That's going to be a goal for our season; to get back in the playoffs." #WelcomeJeff #Knicks https://t.co/NRdEmEKhAu

With that objective in mind, Hornacek has his work cut out for him. The Knicks are coming off two dismal seasons under the leadership of Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis, and the team doesn't currently own a pick in June's draft that could be used to help stockpile the roster with young, upside-laden talent. 

Additionally, Hornacek will need to overhaul the team's offense if he hopes to turn a corner. The Knicks ranked 24th in offensive efficiency this year, and they have played at one of the league's slowest paces over the past two seasons. Specifically, New York ranked 28th and 26th, respectively, in possessions generated per 48 minutes during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. 

Conversely, Hornacek's teams in Phoenix during his first two full seasons at the helm ranked eighth and third in pace. 

Modernizing the Knicks offense won't be easy, but Hornacek has talented pieces to work with, as he told reporters Friday, per NBA TV:

NBA TV @NBATV

.@nyknicks coach Jeff Hornacek discusses what excites him the most... https://t.co/GQO9I3X968

With regard to Kristaps Porzingis' role, Hornacek indicated he plans to feature the first-team All-Rookie selection next year. According to Iannazzone, Hornacek said he'd like to use Porzingis in high pick-and-rolls, post-up situations and fades to the corner for three. 

"Why can't he be a top-5 player in this league?" Hornacek asked, per Begley. "Why can't he be the top player in this league?"

Although the Knicks will be under the microscope throughout Hornacek's first year in charge as he seeks to wash away the memories of losing seasons, he ultimately sounded enthusiastic about the opportunity. 

"If you want to win, there is no better place than New York," he said, per the Knicks' Twitter account

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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