Frank Ntilikina is clearly not progressing on the offensive side of the floor the way Knicks management and fans, alike, would hope to see. The French guard (wing?) has scored in double digits only three times in the 23 games he has played this season. He is shooting 33% from the field, down from an unimpressive 36.4% last season.
Of course, he continues to play strong defense, but his minutes have been sporadic, as Fizdale turns to Emmanuel Mudiay and Allonzo Trier (who people forget is nearly three years older than Frank, despite being a rookie). Some are questioning whether the Knicks have cooled their excitement about Frank’s future.
.@ChrisVernonShow on Ntilikina:
“Everybody I talked to was out on him … It’s like ‘he’s not a PG’ … the kid can’t shoot … it was not a good report … I’m telling you this is from people with the team every damn day”
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) November 28, 2018
Apparently, that has not slowed other teams from around the league in taking notice of Ntilikina.
According to Mike Vorkunov, Orlando has shown interest in the 20-year-old who can defend at a high-level; they had a scout in attendance for the Knicks game in Philadelphia.
“He’s intriguing,” a different scout told Mike Vorkunov
Why this Matters: As great as Ntilikina can be guarding the basketball, he needs to eventually show some life on the offensive side of the ball, proving his perimeter shot is a strength instead of a promise never realized. It is difficult to fully evaluate Frank’s progression this season in a rotation that is constantly changing, not just in the minutes allocated, but the positions assigned.
I need to see more of Frank as the primary ball-handler, doing what is expected this season, playing through the ups and downs, on a nightly basis, as a young point guard. This is just for the Knicks to evaluate what they have in their lottery pick. Meanwhile, it is refreshing to see other teams remained intrigued by his talent, because it offers you a glimpse outside of the Knicks’ bubble.
Could Orlando simply be checking in on someone they consider a low-end prospect? Perhaps. But I suspect other teams would be “intrigued,” as the one scout put it to Vork, by a 20-year old guard who can defend all spaces on the floor.