If you’ve been keeping up with Frank Ntilikina this offseason, you can tell he’s been putting in work at the gym. Whether his game has improved is up for debate, but he seems to be steadily filling into his frame and becoming more physically sound.
But be patient, New York Knicks fans. Ntilikina is still developing physically and mentally, so this may not be his season to be a starter—at least not to begin it.
Ntilikina showed some glimpses at the end of the 2017-18 season as the type of player who may become an adept all-around baller. During his Summer League appearances, we saw a bit of his former conservative self to start, but flipped the switch in the Knicks’ second game.
He showed more security and strength in his dribble and showed some potential by driving into the paint and getting creative with his shot selection.
It will take some time, and we shouldn’t expect the world from Ntilikina, as he will be playing his second season after coming from SIG Strasbourg (French Pro A League). Ntilikina will have his time to shine, but for now, he needs to learn from the passenger’s seat.
Though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start barring any injury to a Knicks guard—or to tailor to a certain lineup While playing him at the 2 seems likely, we could possibly see him getting minutes at the 3.
It’s been a tough start to a career for Emmanuel Mudiay. After skipping college to play overseas for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, Mudiay hasn’t been able to realize the potential he was drafted for.
Mudiay will still have his chance to prove his worth and potentially become a starter, but he needs to show why he was a lottery pick.
With size and strength, Mudiay still has the potential to become a starter in the NBA with two-way potential. At 22 years old, the door is no where near closed on Mudiay reaching his ceiling.
If Mudiay can improve his shot and understand the value of his size on the defensive end, he could eventually make his way up the depth chart or become a trade piece for a team looking for a young point guard to continue developing.
For now, it seems that his contributions on the court are not worthy of being above Burke or Ntilikina on the depth chart.