New York Knicks: Five players with something to prove for rest of 2018-19

New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /
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new york knicks
New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /

1. Frank Ntilikina

Slash Line: .342/.291/.750
Stat Line: 5.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 0.8 3PM

Frank Ntilikina struggled in his rookie season, but expectations were still high for Year Two. He entered as a 20 year old trying to impress Fizdale in a “developmental” year. Briefly, it led to a starting role, until the offensive issues that plagued him last year took another step down.

In two separate stints, Fizdale benched Ntilikina, sending New York Knicks fans up in arms, since it was a young player still trying to learn the game. The first return from hiatus featured an 18-point breakout. Otherwise, it was a return to scoreless games and foul-heavy performances from the Frenchman.

As another opportunity arose in January, when Mudiay went down, Ntilikina entered the starting lineup. Minutes into it, he suffered a groin injury and has not played since Jan. 27.

Between that, Mudiay returned from injury, Allen stepped up and Smith Jr. arrived via trade to take the starting job.

Whenever Ntilikina returns, it’s unknown what kind of role he’ll have. Whatever it is, he has the most to prove of anyone, as the Knicks evaluate their players before a likely chaotic offseason, which can overturn most of this roster.

Ntilikina was on the trade block, too. He joined the Knicks days before Phil Jackson‘s firing as president of basketball operations, so this isn’t a pick of the current regime. That, and not improving offensively over the past 18 months, have hurt the young guard’s stock.

Next. 2019 NBA Mock Draft, All-Star break edition. dark

There’s still time to recoup it, whether this season or next year. If it’s the latter, it may be for another team.