The French Embargo has been Lifted: Frank to Start

David Fizdale hasn’t been known as a flip-flopper so much as someone who says what he needs to say if and when it’s convenient, even if the logic behind a new statement contradicts something he said earlier.

(Really though, all coaches do this shit. They just don’t have seven different media outlets, not to mention yahoos like me, covering their team 24/7)

Regardless, most Knick fans couldn’t care less about his latest convenient logic, and are simply teeming with excitement over the fact that Frank Ntilikina getting a start for the New York Knicks.

You read that sentence correctly: Frankie Baby is getting the starting nod.

Fizdale’s reasoning? He wants him in to begin the game against Kemba Walker, citing Ntilikina’s defense as a reason:

And for some additional context:

Was this same logic present when Frank got a virtual DNP against Boston during the home opener (no I’m not counting the 18 seconds he played at the end of the first half thanks but no thanks)? Of course.

Has anything changed from two days ago, when Fizdale gave “potential foul trouble” as his reason for keeping Frank out of the starting five on Wednesday night? Other than seeing first hand how rough starting a game without a true point guard can be, not really.

Would Fizdale have made this same decision if two (three if you count Kadeem Allen) alternative point guard options were available and RJ Barrett hadn’t proved so unready to be the primary ball handler of an offense without a release valve nearby? Don’t bet on it.

Does any of this matter? Depends on your outlook. If you’re someone who values process over results, today’s decision might be troubling, even if you are (like me) a massive fan not only of Ntilikina, but the potential synergy that could come with pairing him with RJ Barrett. I also think it might help loosen up the clogged toilet offense that’s been starting games, even if it will hurt the spacing.

Personally, I think this is a coach who is learning his way with this team every bit as much as his players are learning how to coexist with each other. Does a part of me wish he would just say that? Sure…but for right now, I’m going to latch on to the way-too-small sample size of 55 minutes that Frank has played and hope that his 97.2 defensive rating carries over to tonight, as they face a team that ran roughshod over them at the Garden less than a week ago.

Giddy up. The French Prince is here. Depending on how tonight goes, maybe, just maybe, it’s for good.

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