NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Kristaps Porzingis might be the focal point of the Knicks’ offense these days, but that doesn’t mean the team is going to be overly reliant on the young big man, coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Talking to WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursday, Hornacek said he’s stressing better ball movement this season, which was part of the formula that saw the Knicks (3-4) recently go on a surprising three-game winning streak.
“I think we had 27 assists both games (against Cleveland and Denver), and that’s what we want to do,” Hornacek said. “We want to share the ball. It’s not just throw it to KP and watch him go to work. There’s going to be time for that.”
But make no mistake, Porzingis is the heart of the team. He’s averaging 27.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game so far.
Needless to say, Hornacek likes what he sees.
“I don’t think anyone can expect a guy to come out in five of the first six games (and) score over 30 points,” Hornacek said. “That’s expecting a lot. But we knew he was capable of scoring big for us, and a lot of things we do are leading to him ending up with the ball. And he still has to make the shots. I think he’s made great improvements and strides, and that mid-post game, he’s realized he can just shoot over the top of guys, and he doesn’t try to do too much with the dribbling.”
Hornacek said he’s also been impressed with Porzingis’ defense.
As for the team overall, Hornacek said: “It’s been a little up and down, but for the most part, the guys are trying to do what we’re asking of them. They’re playing hard. We just have to clean some things up.
“I like their spirit. We came in today after not having a great game last night (in a 119-97 loss to Houston), and they really got after it in practice today. So it was good to see.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.