Frank Ntilikina sat down for a long interview in France today.
The following was translated from French by @magicjordandun:
Q: How do you see your evolution? Because sometimes I saw you on TV, and I shouted, “But shoot!” You did not say I would have to force a little more left to have a very bad FG% some nights.
FRANK: Yes, I’m the first one. Of course, it took a lot of time but I was not ready to change my style of play too fast. Compared to coaching, teammates, the style of play that was practiced was not too much in my interest. But I know that to reach a higher level I would have to be more aggressive.
They ask him his ambitions for next season.
He replies that he raise his level in all areas of the game: scoring, rebounds, and doing even more in defense. And that the players want the playoffs.
They ask him the differences between the NBA and European game (coaching).
Frank thinks that the game is different so that’s why the coaching is different (the players are stronger). His former coach practiced a very organized basketball practiced, more passing game and use the shot clock longer to find the best shoot.
Frank says that the biggest difference between the NBA and FIBA is the mindset of the players who mentally think themselves the strongest in the league, and that’s why the players are very aggressive in scoring and there are a lot of ISOs in some teams, and it took a while to adjust to that.
Frank says he has a lot of fun fighting against a very good PG every night.
The following was translated from French by @Elorn_Pecorari:
I learnt a lot during this season, I think it was the goal going to the NBA. To get the most tools and the most weapons to improve myself.
I lived pretty much everything that was possible in one year : success in the beginning of the season with THJ and KP who played at a very high level. Then we got a bad time, the injuries, the trade deadline… I learnt a lot as a basketball player and as a man.
I had no pressure, I saw all of it as a challenge. I’m ready to put all the work needed to succeed. I just try to control what’s in my range, everything else I don’t focus on it.
(The radio guy is asking him how the change between the low media attention and the american media storm impacted him and how did he prepared himself to it.)
It was ok. I knew it was coming and I was ready for it. I knew all I had to do was to stay focused on what actually mattered : the game.
The difference in the frequency of the game (from 1 to 2 game a week to the NBA rythm) impacted me a lot, around January-february, I felt more tired. We learn that it’s more psychological than physical because we’re gonna get tired anyway.
Lebron James manage not to get tired after 15 season because he puts the work and money in it. I took a lot of advices from a dietetician. I still cook for now but I improved a lot my food. It was weird not to eat anymore with my teammates before the games and the training (because we do this in France).
I had luck to get drafted in NY, which is a great city where you can do a lot of stuff. I met a lot of people, a lot of french people. I arrived during summer when I had time to do some shopping, some tourism, but during the season I had no time to spend in this kind of stuff anymore.
The radio guy is telling him that he got some swag, some flow, that he dresses well. Which is true.
There’s a real friendship between KP and me, as we both come from Europe.
Playing in the MSG is magical. Everytime I played there I felt like in no other NBA arena. The infrastructures and the things that the franchise give us access to, so we can focus on basketball, is incredible.
It took time for me to take the open shots, because I didn’t wanted to change suddenly my playstyle. I should be more aggressive and be more hungry for the ball. (The radio guy is telling him that some of his teammates didn’t hesitated to shoot the ball, even if sometime they shouldn’t). I’ll never blame my teammates ahah.
We talk a bit about the coach choice with the front office. We want to get in the playoff and that’s our goal with the FO and the players. (Is asked about his opinion about David Blatt or other coaches for NY) I won’t give any opinion.
(Is asked about the differences of coaching between Hornacek and Vincent Collet, his former coach and head coach of the national french team). There’s a lot of differences between the american and european game, maybe less passing game for example. With Collet we played a very organized basketball to have the best shot we could get. It was different but very interesting and I was very motivated to improve myself. It also goes with the talent of the player, everyone wants to be the best in the league, so there’s way more 1v1.
[Joakim Noah] helped me a lot during the transition, he was like a big brother to me. It was tough when he left the team, but he’s OK, he is highly motivated to get back at his best level</mark>.
I felt overwhelmed to get complimented by Lebron and a lot of other players, veterans in the league.
At PG we have a lot of different players, a lot of them are incredibly impressive, as Westbrook who is so athletic, Kyrie, Lillard, Curry, all of them proved that they were the best PG of the league. When I arrived in NBA, I was very impressed to play against those stars, since I was a fan. But now I don’t care about who I am playing, I just try to focus on the game.
Toronto played really well when we played them, so their matchup against Cleveland is going to be very interresting.
When I arrived in Strasbourg (his former french team, at 15 I think) I promised myself to get once a banner at the ceiling of the arena and now it’s done (he got a banner celebrating him being the highest drafted french player ever). It felt really special to me. I really hope that Strasbourg win the next championship.