4. Play at least 25 minutes per game
For a rookie and the unremarkable shooting numbers, Frank Ntilikina still played often for the New York Knicks, with 21.9 minutes per game in 78 appearances and nine starts. Head coach Jeff Hornacek displayed confidence in the then-rookie guard, but will David Fizdale do the same?
Ntilikina must impress early and often to earn Fizdale’s trust. With Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, Mario Hezonja and Emmanuel Mudiay around to take minutes, it might take some work.
If Ntilikina can break through on offense, look for him to at least fend off Mudiay, who struggles from the field, for minutes. This will potentially lead to a spike in minutes and more opportunities.
25 minutes per game is a reasonable mark for Ntilikina to hit; a boost of 3.1 minutes. With a larger role and shooting improvement, playing more often provides more exposure to the NBA’s best players, especially if he can return the defensive pedigree to the table.
The 20-year old’s specialty lies on the defensive end, which arguably goes the most towards the initial minutes he receives.
If not 25 minutes, Ntilikina remains in line for 20-plus minutes per game. This can result from an offseason development that helps his case for more work.