Jeff Hornacek: Phil Jackson didn’t push Kurt Rambis on me

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were bound to be one of the most interesting teams to track this season. Phil Jackson looming over Jeff Hornacek. Kurt Rambis just waiting in the wings to perhaps slide into that interim role he’s familiar with in case things go south again. A roster full of stars that may or may not be able to play together.

It’s just a fascinating mixture of fertilizer that could either fuel a blazing dumpster fire of crushed expectations or a dangerous team that rockets into relevancy.

So far, it’s been a bit more dumpster fire than rocket ship. The Knicks sport a 3-4 record. Jackson and some players have reportedly already been grumbling about the offense — is it triangle enough, is it pick-and-roll enough?

On top of that, as New York looked at a 2-4 record and sported one of the worst defenses in the Association, Rambis was appointed as a defensive coordinator of sorts.

During a press conference, Hornacek insisted that move had nothing to do with the Zen master. And he expressed this in a way that had us chuckling just a bit.

“Call WikiLeaks and you can look at my emails, zero. He didn’t have anything to do with it,” Hornacek said, per ESPN’s Ian Begler.

Well then. There are a some jokes here based on emails and the truth that we’re going to keep to ourselves. It’s a tremendous line but doesn’t necessarily convince us that Jackson had nothing to do with inserting Rambis into a more prominent role within the structure of the team.

Hornacek had another great line about the perception surrounding his team as it struggles to reach the .500 mark on the season.

“Everybody thinks the sky is falling. I guess so. But I don’t think any of our guys, any of the coaches, anyone in the organization, is panicked about it,” Hornacek said before the Knicks’ victory over Brooklyn on Wednesday. “We know these guys just got together in these last few weeks with Derrick coming back. Are there things we can do better? Sure. We will get better. Everyone is pretty positive.”

It’s going to be interesting to see how long everyone stays “pretty positive.”

The Knicks are on the road Friday night for a battle against the Boston Celtics, who also need to step up their game in the early goings. It’s going to be interesting to see which team’s defense does the best job of shutting down the opposition. Both feature offenses that can score in bunches and defenses that rank among the worst in the NBA.