When the 2016-2017 NBA season finally gets underway on Tuesday night, the modest three-game slate will start with the Cavs hosting the Knicks at the Q in Cleveland. Keeping with tradition, the team will receive their championship rings prior to tip-off, followed by the ceremonial raising of the championship banner to the rafters.
It’s always a bit of a slap in the face to the visiting team, who’s forced to sit quietly in introspection while the festivities go raging on around them. New Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, however, has a different perspective on the situation. He, for one, hopes that his team will witness that celebration and feel some combination of anger and inspiration. Via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
“(I hope it does) a couple of things,” Hornacek said. “Inspires or ticks you off that you’re not doing it. If guys can take something out of that, I always felt it was good to have your guys watch it. If you lose in the playoffs, watch the other team celebrate because that gets you ready for the next year and hopefully spurs you on to work harder and see what it takes to get to that level.”
No matter how badly the Knicks would like to think of themselves as a super team, an NBA title is likely out of the realm of reality this season. Still, with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah joining a core that already included Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, the expectation is that the Knicks will at the very least climb their way back to respectability and secure a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs next spring. They should already be fully-motivated to accomplish that goal, but a little extra kick in the pants never hurts.