Steve Mills: Hornacek's job not at risk, but Knicks must show progress
Steve Mills: Hornacek's job not at risk, but Knicks must show progress

One NBA head coach has already been shown the door this season after the Phoenix Suns fired Earl Watson, and with the New York Knicks toiling near the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 1-3, Jeff Hornacek's future has also been called into question.

Knicks president Steve Mills, however, doesn't appear ready to give his coach the ax just yet. All he wants is for the team to show improvement, and that won't happen overnight.

"There was speculation not on our part but by the outside world," Mills said Sunday of Hornacek possibly being on the hot seat, according to The New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy. "This summer when Jeff and I went to Jim Dolan with a plan of how we wanted to build this team - and how we wanted the team to come together - and we just want to see progress. We want to try to win as many games as we can.

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"We want to try to win as many games as we can. We want the guys to play hard every night. The three of us, we're all on the same page as it relates to that. We just want to see the team move in a positive direction."

With Carmelo Anthony no longer in the picture, Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis has taken over the mantle of franchise player. Willy Hernangomez was expected to be right there alongside Porzingis at the forefront, but has totaled just over 28 minutes across his three appearances off the bench. He was also a DNP against the Detroit Pistons.

Mills understands how important Hernangomez is to the Knicks' future, yet won't step in and tell Hornacek how to utilize him. If the coach feels it's best to sit him, then it's on the 23-year-old Spaniard to change that.

"We're not dictating who plays. We don't tell Jeff who to play," Mills added. "Jeff understands our strategy as a whole and wants these guys to develop. At the end of the day, we tell the players and we tell Jeff that you got to earn your minutes. Billy understands that and Billy's done a really good job over the last week understanding what he has to do. He's definitely stepped it up in practice."

Under Hornacek's tutelage, the Knicks have notched a 32-54 record (.372). They're in Cleveland on Sunday night to take on the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

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