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Jeff Hornacek Hesitant to Play Kristaps Porzingis at Center

Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek believes that the Knicks are “better in the long-run” with Kristaps Porzingis playing more power forward than center, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

Hornaeck told Bondy that New York is at a disadvantage on defense when Porzingis plays center as the only big man on the court:

“That’s an option we’ve gone to sometimes. Sometimes it’s worked, sometimes it hasn’t been great,” Hornaeck said. “So we want the big guys. Sometimes when we take those guys out our protection at the basket isn’t as good. That puts a bigger emphasis on our guys outside to have to stop the penetration. Because KP can block shots in there, but then his man may be doing stuff on the weak side. So I think we’re better in the long run when you have two big guys down there — KP and somebody else defensively.”

Joakim Noah is the Knicks’ current starter at center, while Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez also receive minutes as Noah’s backups in Hornaeck’s rotation.

“We have three capable centers in Jo and Kyle and Willy played really well in Denver so if we play KP more at the 5 it kind of takes away those minutes,” Hornacek said.

Per Basketball Reference, Porzingis has spent 38% of his time on the court this season at the center position, a slight increase from the 30% of center play he received last season under Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis.

Porzingis is averaging 20.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game this season.

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About Tony Montalto (2000 Articles)
Twitter: @tony_montalto

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