With the hiring of Jeff Hornacek, some Lin fans, including myself, are taking a second look at the Knicks. Knicks suddenly look like an intriguing choice as a potential destination for Jeremy Lin. I think some of the biggest factors that eliminated them from contention for me have decrease in their potency over time.
It’s clear now that Dolan is no longer in charge. Phil Jackson is running the show now, so I think IF Dolan agrees to sign Lin, Dolan will be a non-factor once Jeremy Lin is on the team. Of course, the other issue is Melo, but I think out of desperation, Melo won’t be as big of an obstacle, because he’s so tired of losing all the time and he knows that Knicks fans blame him for pushing their beloved Lin out, so he’ll MAYBE try to redeem himself if Lin returns. I’m not saying that Melo won’t be an issue, but I think he’ll be much less of an issue than he was during Linsanity.
One thing I’m most excited about, regarding Lin’s potential return to the Knicks is that the Lin/Porzingis combo would be lethal, dynamic and so much fun to watch. Those are two of the most beloved players for Knicks fans in a while. So having two Knicks fan favorites on the same team…I don’t think Knicks fans would be able to contain themselves!
The BIG question mark for me is Phil Jackson. His hiring of Hornacek caught everyone by surprise, since Hornacek is not in the triangle (pun intended). I guess you can say that Hornacek has had experience defending against the triangle as a player, but that was ages ago so I don’t think that counts for much.
I think a lot of Lin fans get excited about Hornacek potentially being LIn’s coach, because Hornacek had one of the fastest PnR heavy offenses when he coached the Suns. I have to admit, I’m also excited about it, but I temper my enthusiasm, because I think Hornacek will still do whatever Phil wants him to do. Also, we’ll never really know if Hornacek coached that way, because he had a PG-heavy roster and maybe even a front office that like the fast-tempo D’Antoni originated there. So to me, Hornacek is a bit of an unknown entity. I don’t really know what type of coach he’ll be under Phil Jackson.
There have been conflicting reports about whether or not the triangle is dead now that Hornacek has been hired. Some, like Jeff Van Gundy think the triangle is dead, but other reports say that there’s no way Phil will completely abandon the triangle. My take on it is that without a point guard like Jeremy Lin, Hornacek will have to accept more of the triangle and Phil will have more of a hand in how the offense looks. But the big question is, what happens if Jeremy Lin is the Knicks’s point guard under Jeff Hornacek? Will Hornacek then have the freedom to run an offense like he did with the Suns? My take is that it’ll be tough for Phil to relinquish control. Phil is not as much of a Zen Master as he makes himself out to be.
My gut instinct on Phil Jackson is that he’s not very high on Jeremy Lin. Phil has never had the pleasure of coaching a dynamic, free-flowing point guard like Jeremy Lin. Phil’s PGs have been systems players, who are essentially there just to move the ball to the star player (Jordan/Kobe). I just don’t see Phil really appreciating Lin’s game, so to me that’s the biggest factor, because it’s clear that Phil is in charge. I don’t think Phil would hire Hornacek if he didn’t feel like he couldn’t work with Hornacek and get Hornecek to do what he wants. I think Phil does respect Hornacek, so I do think it will be more of a partnership. But I think at the end of the day, Phil will get what he wants, since he’s the guy in charge.
Given the lack of talented free agent point guards, the Knicks may have no choice but to make Lin an offer. I do think the Knicks will go heavy after Conley, though, and that’s probably their first choice. And I can see Conley joining Melo and the Knicks if he gets a great offer from the Knicks, maybe even Rondo. Just all hunches by me, though. I haven’t done any research or thought very deeply about what the Knicks are looking for. Of course, Nets remain my first choice for Lin by far, but Knicks suddenly become an intriguing choice for Jeremy Lin. Lin does seem to love playing in MSG.