2. Start more than nine games
Former head coach Jeff Hornacek played Frank Ntilikina often and had him for all but four games in 2017-18. Just nine of them resulted in starts, however, something that can change in the 2018-19 campaign.
Ntilikina might find it difficult to crack the starting lineup for more than a fraction of the season, due to Trey Burke’s late-season emergence and a healthy Tim Hardaway Jr. Mario Hezonja and Kevin Knox’s presences won’t help, either.
Factors, aside from Ntilikina’s emergence, can play into a more frequent role in the starting lineup, however.
Kristaps Porzingis’ knee injury could put him out until midseason. While he sits, Knox can slide into the power forward role and Ntilikina at small forward, creating a small-ball lineup that benefits the former and allows the latter to guard wings.
Hardaway Jr. struggled with injuries in 2017-18, missing 25 games in the midst of this campaign. If that recurs, Ntilikina might find himself in the starting lineup for any time the New York Knicks high-priced guard stays on the sidelines for.
Burke and Hezonja also bring bust potential for the 2018-19 campaign, as the former came on strong but did not fair well in previous NBA seasons, and the latter could not break through in three disappointing seasons with the Orlando Magic.
Any trouble for the aforementioned players may benefit Ntilikina throughout the 2018-19 season, pending he performs well and stays healthy, too. So he needs luck, but still must live up to the potential, the Knicks saw in 2017 to earn a bigger role.