Sometimes it takes someone saying something outright to make it true. The New York Knicks have been slipping out of the postseason picture ever since the All-Star break, but it took until now for Jeff Hornacek to pretty much admit the team is no longer fantasizing about making it to the East’s final 8.

Hornacek spoke to the New York Post about where this season is going. With 68 games behind them and being six games behind the 8th spot, it’s pretty much a done deal that the Knicks will miss the playoffs for the 4th straight season. 

Whether we’re in the playoffs or not in the playoffs, we’re going to play hard the whole time. The playoffs may not be in reach, but this especially could be for other young guys to get some time to show what they really can do. Until you’re mathematically done, you’re always going for it, but sometimes it’s realistic. Are you going to be able to make up the games? Many, many things would have to happen for that.

The Knicks have the Hornets, Heat and Bulls in front of them before getting to the Bucks who currently occupy the last train seat for the postseason. Besides the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks have the worst defense in the East. When you’re that bad, the playoffs are impossible to make. They have shown signs of potential and progress, but overall, their performances across the board have been inconsistent and frustrating. 

Where to from here? The Knicks tried to get rid of Carmelo Anthony and couldn’t find someone to deal with, which is obviously sending him into the offseason quite unhappy about his position with the team, and wondering about his no-trade clause. Derrick Rose is acknowledging he’ll never be the player from before the injury, but he isn’t the problem. It’s not one player. Hornacek isn’t the issue here too, and I think he deserves more than one season.

Phil Jackson might stay a while long, and might go home. But this season was a punch in the gut for Knicks fans. After some very low lows up to this point, their ambitious moves in the offseason should have ended their time as outsiders when it comes to playoff basketball. But the system the Knicks are trying to force on their players, the personnel choices that don’t add up and the insufferable lack of fight in too many games drowned this ship despite some promising moments early on.

What’s another year of not making the playoffs? A chance to snag a game-changing player in the draft isn’t bad for a team seriously lacking in young talent besides Kristaps Porzingis. Rose is a free agent, so it’ll be interesting to see where the Knicks are going to take their point guard search. The situation isn’t awful. The Knicks are one good offseason away from returning to the playoffs. The question is whether that’s possible with Jackson steering the ship.