Frank Ntilikina has spent the last three games stapled to the Knicks bench. The 2017 lottery pick has struggled with his shot this season, shooting an anemic 33.3% from the field, including a dismal 25.7% from three. That said, in a year dedicated to player development, it has been curious that Fizdale has decided to leave Ntilikina out of the rotation of late.
Following the Knicks most recent loss to Boston, Fizdale indicated that he probably should have played him. The Knicks struggled trying to stop the pick-and-roll throughout the game, a situation Ntilikina excels at defending.
Speaking a day later in practice, Fizdale gave some more clarity on the French guard’s role in the rotation.
“I still see Frank as a rotation player […] No one is ever buried on my team. It’s just one quick decision from getting him in the mix. He had a heck of a practice today. You’ll be seeing Frank on the court sometime soon.”
Fizdale was seen sitting with Frank on the side of the court after practice having a long conversation.
Ntilikina continues to say the right things in responding to his lack of playing time, “I’m learning. I’m going to get out of this better, get out of this experience better than I was. This is going to get me tougher on the court, tougher mentally. Just better. It’s an experience that helps players.”
Of course, Frank isn’t the only Knicks guard to deal with inconsistent minutes. Damyean Dotson, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Trey Burke have all seen their minutes fluctuate this season, as Fizdale continues to tweak with the rotations.
“I just saw them bounce back real good on the court,” Ntilikina said. “Like they did, and what I’m doing right now, they competed really hard at practice. They got extra work. That’s what I’m doing every day. We’ve got to stay confident in this type of situation. We’ve been through some tougher things in life. It’s just a thing that will help us bounce back and get better.”
The Knicks next play on Saturday against Brooklyn, a team that Ntilikina has had perhaps his most success against in the NBA.