New-Look Knicks Brass Lays Out Shift In Team’s Vision

There’s a new sheriff in Knickstown. Actually two.

Two men with a shared vision. Two with an unspoken desire to create a legacy as the duo that restored sustained excellence to the Knicks organization.

Steve Mills and Scott Perry were introduced Monday as the team’s president and GM, respectively. They left little doubt as to how they intend to change the direction of a franchise that last made the playoffs in 2013.

[Watch full press conference introducing Scott Perry as Knicks’ GM]

“We’ve got to make sure everyone checks their individual agendas and egos at the door,’” Perry said at the team’s training facility in Tarrytown. “And when we come in this building, we’re going to be a team. We’re going to be united.”

How’s that for culture change?

“For us, the accountability part is not just about the front office, it’s not just about us,” said Mills. “What can the players expect from each other?

“I think there needs to be clarity of message in terms of how we communicate with our players, what we expect so they know what they can expect from us, and they know what they can expect from each other.”

[Watch: More from Mills at press conference]

How’s that for culture change?

“We want to try to establish an identity and the identity has to become defense first,” said head coach Jeff Hornacek. “They also have to try to develop a mentality for that desire to get a stop.”

How’s that for culture change?

Now New York fans and Knicks players know what the expectation is for 2017-18 and beyond. Now there is a clear vision – accountability, unity, youth, athleticism, defense.

How Mills and Scott intend to implement such change was clearly spelled out. The Knicks will build through the draft. They’ll sign young, athletic, team-oriented players and develop them into a cohesive unit.

[Hahn: Knicks Hit Reset After Front Office Restructuring]

The plan is to have everyone on the same page. Everyone.

Perry said he intended to meet with every member of the organization — from players to janitors — before he begins giving Mills recommendations on the shaping of the front office staff, the coaching staff and the roster.

This is not a one-day, win-the-press-conference message. This is that the Knicks will be going forward — a franchise striving to get to a championship level and sustain it.

“You can have a lot of signs and printouts that have a lot of fancy statements but at the end of the day, you’ve got to live culture every day,” said Perry.  “And that’s how you treat people, how you hold people accountable. That’s everybody having a shared vision.”

Mills addressed the status of star Carmelo Anthony, who at the age of 33, doesn’t seem to fit the vision that was laid out Monday. Mills said he would not buy out Anthony’s contract.

He and Perry will continue to evaluate the trade market. If there is no deal that improves the team, Anthony will remain a Knick, where his experience can benefit the core of young players such as Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, first-round draft choice Frank Ntilikina and recently signed Tim Hardaway Jr.

Mills and Perry said the Knicks will look to bring in an experienced point guard to help Ntilikina’s development. Mills stated he would have also used the 8th pick on the 6-foot-5 point guard had he been president at the time of the NBA Draft instead of Phil Jackson.

Ntilikina, 18, fits the vision. Hardaway, 25, fits the vision.

[Read: Hardaway Ready To Lead In Second Stint With Knicks]

This is a vastly different vision than the one Knicks fans were presented with last summer when the signings of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee stirred talk of a deep playoff run. It never came together.

The Mills-Perry plan is not a quick fix. It’s not a one-year wonder.

That’s not to suggest that Mills and Perry have put winning on the back burner. As Mills said, the vision is build on the young talent already in place and watch it grow, month to month, year to year, until the Knicks are a championship caliber team.

This is ground up building with a foundation already in place, not blow it up and start over.

Mills, a Long Island native, knows the longing of Knicks fans, who haven’t celebrated a championship since 1973. Perry referred to the Knicks as a storied franchise that he’s admired from afar.

“Focus on the young guys, take advantage of the draft picks that we have moving forward, and build an organization,” Perry said. “Build a team that centers around the growth of that group of guys together, which will take longer to do.

“But I think it’s something the fans of New York are ready for and will accept as long as the guys come together and play hard and do the kinds of things we’re talking about today.”