When they selected him as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks expected Frank Ntilikina to be one of the players who would help Kristaps Porzingis bring to the team back to title contention. Unfortunately, since entering the NBA, Ntilikina has been a huge disappointment and failed to live up to expectations from a lottery pick.
In his sophomore year, Frank Ntilikina was projected to have a huge improvement with his performance under Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale. The 44-year-old mentor entrusted Ntilikina a starting role and a significant playing time earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, only to be reciprocated by inconsistencies on both ends of the floor. In 31 games he played this season, Ntilikina is only averaging 6.3 points and 2.6 assists on 34.6 percent shooting from the field and 29.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Knicks were one of the NBA teams who was given the opportunity to play on Christmas Day. Frank Ntilikina’s mother, Jacqueline, flew to New York earlier this week to watch the French point guard play against the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, Ntilikina received a DNP treatment from Fizdale, his fourth this season.
Coach David Fizdale’s decision not to play Frank Ntilikina remains puzzling to most people in the NBA, knowing that the rebuilding Knicks are currently focused on the development of their young players in the 2018-19 NBA season. Instead of using Ntilikina, Fizdale decided to rely on his two other point guards, Trey Burke, and Emmanuel Mudiay, to handle the playmaking duties against the Bucks.
However, both guards were also inefficient on the offensive end of the floor. Mudiay only scored 11 points on 5-of-14 from the field and had five turnovers, while Burke finished with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field. When he headed to the locker room after the game, Frank Ntilikina is clearly frustrated being out of the Knicks’ rotation.
“I don’t know how long it will be [this time],” Ntilikina told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I can’t predict each and every game in the future. One thing I can do is get ready for each and every one — which I will do. Practice hard, get ready physically and mentally for the next game.”
Despite giving him a DNP treatment, Coach David Fizdale said that they still see Frank Ntilikina as an integral part of their roster. However, Fizdale didn’t give any assurance if there will be major changes to Ntilikina’s playing time in their upcoming games.
“Frank is very important to us, and we just have to find a way to just get that confidence back for him,” Fizdale said.
On Thursday night, the Knicks are set to have their rematch against the Bucks at the Fiserv Forum.