Frank Ntilikina will enter his sophomore season with the New York Knicks. What are realistic expectations for him in 2018-19?
The New York Knicks made Frank Ntilikina the No. 8 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, and after one season, he flashed enough promise to become a long-term member of the organization. Soon, though, the 2018-19 season will arrive and create higher expectations.
On a young team, Ntilikina has the chance to make a name for himself and carve out a role, especially amidst the team’s adversity to open the season.
What will it take to rise to the occasion, though? How can Ntilikina set his sights toward success in year two? Let’s take a look:
5. Continue to develop three-point range
When Frank Ntilikina entered the NBA, he brought physical skills to the New York Knicks, at 6-foot-5, with a seven-foot wingspan to create havoc on defense. However, questions surrounded the offensive side of the ball, with an emphasis on shooting.
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Before the 2017-18 season, Maxwell Ogden profiled Ntilikina’s need to develop a jump shot. While there were flashes, he only shot 36.4 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from three-point range. Hardly impressive numbers, but as a 19 year old, there’s room to grow.
For Ntilikina to fit into the modern-day NBA, he must find consistency from mid-range, given the 38.5 percent mark on two-pointers in 2017-18, and try to stretch his game to behind the arc. While two of these shots were taken per contest and topped 30 percent, it’s pedestrian compared to even the league’s good shooters.
If the Frenchman can take a step forward on offense, his role will look clearer as a starter, rather than the mold of Iman Shumpert, who once offered physical and defensive potential but never developed a consistent shot.
Crossing 40 percent shooting and 35 percent from three-point range are ballpark ranges for improvement and success in 2018-19. Can he hit those numbers?