The Knicks are expected to hire former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, and the New York media wasted no time welcoming the new head coach with the above headline. The New York Daily News captured Hornacek, team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills leaving a New York City restaurant after word leaked that Hornacek would be New York’s newest sideline general.
The play on Hornacek is expected, but the subtitle about Jax (Jackson) and the hot and heavy line sexualizes it to a degree that’s unexpected in a story that’s so purely platonic. But that’s the NYDN now. They’re the Twitter tabloid, which means we’re covering it and talking about it and giving it free press. So, despite how incongruent the headline is for the story, it’s working. The ever-expanding graveyard of failed print periodicals, it’s forced those remaining the fold to adapt and change and create new ways of reporting the news. Some of it’s bad, some of it’s trash, some of it’s amazing. We don’t think this headline falls into any of those categories, but it has accomplished its goal: drumming up interest.
And lets not forget they also wrote about Hornacek’s broadcaster daughter, too.
Back to basketball for a second now. The Hornacek hiring — or, more appropriately, the soon-to-be hiring — materialized out of thin air after Kurt Rambis, an avowed Triangle disciple, spent much of the early part of the offseason as the favorite for the job. This was after he took over for the fired Derek Fisher mid-season as their interim coach.
Jackson and Co. interviewed both David Blatt and Frank Vogel, but Hornacek, a Triangle novice, has allegedly come away with the gig. Horny puns will dangle as low-hanging fruit throughout his New York tenure whenever this gets around to being official, but Knicks fans should be on board with Jackson getting into bed with a coach who won 48 games just two seasons ago. That was with a Suns team that preseason prognosticators were calling perhaps the worst in the Association. For fun, let’s look at what ESPN’s panel of experts wrote at the time about the Suns before that 2013-14 season:
Chau: Despite being an arid desert, I’ve recently learned that Arizona does indeed have a game and fish department, and there are areas around Phoenix to fish. That’s great news, because those lakes just outside of town will be the first destination after the season is over. And who knows, maybe one of those fishing rods might nab an Andrew Wiggins.
Elhassan: Phoenix has not changed its address from last season: Western Conference basement. Like I said, this team will be awful (but fun to watch!).
Feldman: To a seat in the bottom row of the lottery. The NBA typically sits teams’ representatives in two rows for the lottery reveal, and the five or so worst teams get the lower row. The Suns might not have the prime chair on the far left reserved for the team with the worst record, but they shouldn’t have to climb to the second level.
Strauss: They will be the last-place team in the Western Conference. Also, they’ll make me sad whenever those uniforms conjure up memories of last decade’s best basketball viewing experience. Has a professional sports franchise ever so quickly gone from “most exciting” to “most boring”?
Zimmerman: The Suns probably won’t lose as many games as is expected, simply because their offense could snowball a few times against decent teams. Still, more than 25 wins would be surprising unless Bledsoe really turns into more than an exceptional player on a bad team.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but that should make Knicks fans just as horny for Hornacek as the Daily News made it seem like Jackson and the Knicks are.