Knicks’ roster instability revealed in these numbers

Knicks’ roster instability revealed in these numbers

Continuity, thy name is … well, anything but Knicks.

In yet another season gone south, the Knicks have used 13 different starting lineups as they again plod toward the lottery. The mandate is don’t tank, but develop young players.

And the offensive system is not the triangle Jeff Hornacek was hired to coach with some refresher courses last season from the triangular proponent, former team president Phil Jackson, who is long gone.

And when the Knicks take the Garden floor Sunday against the Raptors, there will be all of three people in uniform — Courtney Lee, Kyle O’Quinn and Lance Thomas — who were Knicks last season. “Once a Knick always a Knick” doesn’t apply when dealing year-to-year.

“Since we’re playing Toronto, you could use them as a great example,” Hornacek said Saturday after practice in Tarrytown. “They were a pretty decent team but three years ago, they were talking about blowing that team up. They’ve stayed with it.

“Three years later, they look like one of the best teams in the league because they have a lot of familiarity with each other, they know what each guy’s going to do. Then when you add a guy here or there, a couple young guys who know how to play, suddenly they’re right there,” Hornacek said. “They didn’t give up on those guys. It takes a little bit of time.Everybody thinks, ‘These guys are professionals.

You can put a bunch of new guys together and it’s going to work.’ If you put five All-Stars together it might work great. Developing guys, basketball’s a lot of that and we’re trying to get these guys developed.Hopefully we keep a good core of these guys together to continue to build on what we’re doing now.”

Lee, who missed two games because of a death in the family, is expected back Sunday. But Hornacek doubted he would start the shooting guard.

“Maybe we’ll just bring him off the bench,” Hornacek said, noting he likely would not break up his starting backcourt of Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay. “Not at this point. I don’t think so.”

Maybe the passing comes from being a backup quarterback in high school. But O’Quinn, who had a season-high six assists Friday against the Bucks, is averaging 1.9 assists in 17.1 minutes. That’s 12th among all NBA centers, but the most by any center averaging less than 20 minutes.

“Just an instinct I have. Trying to get other guys the ball. I’ve always been a solid passer, but when guys cut and [they] make shots, they call ‘assist’ and it makes it look like you’re passing a little better,” O’Quinn said.

“When you make a pass, maybe you get a comparison. Maybe, ‘That’s a [Arvydas] Sabonis-like pass or Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol.’ … When people make shots and you are the passer, it makes it look better because you get the assist,” said O’Quinn, emphasizing he was “a second string quarterback. “I don’t know how many completions I had.”

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