Frank Ntilikina has found his role
I have to confess, my expectations for second-year guard Frank Ntilikina have been too high.
When looking at Ntilikina’s numbers, they’re terrible. He scored five points to go along with five rebounds, one assist and three steals during Wednesday night’s regular season opener against the Atlanta Hawks.
But, there’s a reason that Knicks’ head coach David Fizdale had Ntilikina play a whopping 33 minutes, which is the most of anyone on the team.
The reason is that Ntilikina is that he’s an elite defender. And he did a heck of a job neutralizing the Hawks’ offense, which enabled the Knicks to run the floor and score 126 points on the night.
With Ntilikina only being 19 years-old right now, I’ve realized that we all need to temper our expectations when it comes to his offensive game. But defensively, he gives the Knicks a huge boost given the fact that great defenders are hard to come by in the NBA.
What I’m really interested in seeing is how long Ntilikina will start. Because if rookie Kevin Knox can get himself together offensively, Fizdale may have to start him over Frank at the three spot.
Then again, I expect the Knicks’ starting line-up to be different almost every game. There might be a specific match-up where Fizdale will want Ntilikina to start and maybe there’s a night where New York is playing a team that he would rather start another player.
We’ll have to wait and see how things shake out. But for now, the Knicks have a defensive star in Ntilikina.
Paul has been a professional writer since 2010 and covered the NFL for several years as a credentialed media member. Some of his work has been linked to companies like FOX Sports, MSN, ESPN, Rolling Stone, Forbes and Deadspin. He’s also appeared on sports talk radio shows from around the United States.