Frank Ntilikina showed some bright spots in his rookie year with the New York Knicks. What will it take to get him to the next level?
Frank Ntilikina showed a lot of promise, as well as some signs of being a rookie, in his first year in the NBA. However, being such a young player, he still has a chance to bring his game to the next level for the New York Knicks.
Focus on Strengths
Ntilikina showed two great strengths that you love to see, especially with a rookie. Those strengths are his defensive ability and his court vision.
Having such a lengthy frame, Ntilikina was an active defender all year long. Having length does not make you a good defender. However, Ntilikinas’ ability to use that length and stay active in the passing lanes proved to be a huge advantage to a team that normally lacks defensive effort and ability.
The 19-year-old guard also showed the ability to stay in front of his defensive assignment, again using his long wingspan to cover a lot of ground. Staying active with his hands and swiping the ball from ball-handlers, Ntilikina proves to be one of the Knicks’ best defensive options.
Although the Knicks have shown the desire to turn Ntilikina into an off-ball guard, he does a good job of seeing the court. We have seen on multiple occasions Ntilikina’s ability to dish the ball to his teammates for easy buckets.
Despite averaging just 21.9 minutes per game, Ntilikina had 21 games with five assists or more.
Both his defensive ability and court vision have proved to be big parts of Ntilikina’s game. They’re strengths that he should build upon as he gains experience in the NBA.
One thing that I took note of during Ntilikina’s first year in the league is his lack of aggressiveness on offense. He has a habit of passing up shots from the outside, as well as not driving to the hoop.
There were times that Ntilikina succeeded when taking three-point jumpers. However, he probably passes them up due to a lack of confidence. However, as an athletic guard, he needs to get more aggressive when driving to the rim.
He certainly can play above the rim, and has the tools to be acrobatic in the air. His long wingspan, his speed, and his vertical are all assets that would provide an advantage when driving to the rim.
If he can become more aggressive, which I fully expect to happen as he gains experience, this could go from a weakness to a strength quite quickly.
He also had a rough go at the three point and free throw lines, which can be fixed with practice. Shooting at a 31.8 percent clip from beyond the three point line, as well as 72.1 percent from the free throw line, his numbers definitely have room for improvement.
Overall, If Ntilikina and the next head coach can work together to come to a proper evaluation, he can be a player with many tools that could help this team for a long time.
The ball is now in the court of the New York Knicks.