New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina is all-in on succeeding with the team

(Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
(Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images) /

In an interview with the French Knicks Pod, Frank Ntilikina said he is fully invested in succeeding with the New York Knicks and just needed some time.

It goes without saying that Frank Ntilikina had a difficult first two seasons with the New York Knicks. It featured multiple demotions from the rotation, after the 21-year-old guard struggled to make shots, including a handful of scoreless outings.

However, Ntilikina seemed to revitalize himself at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, playing more confidently than he did in his brief NBA experience. His basic stats were similar to those in the Association, but his shot average hovered around 45 percent, which dwarfed what he did with the Knicks.

Year Three is ahead for Ntilikina as he remains on New York’s roster, even after trade rumors last season and in the summer. His role may be clouded, but there is a spot for him when training camp arrives later this month.

In an interview with the French Knicks Pod, Ntilikina said he did not feel restrained by injuries or his situation with the Knicks, but feels the team will “surprise” everyone this season:

"To understand me, it was just a process of adaptation. The NBA is another style, another country and a different everyday life. It’s not necessarily obvious, especially when it comes to basketball in New York. For some it may take a day or two, for others longer. For me, New York is home since day one, but i needed time to give my best."

The transition was clear for Ntilikina, who jumped to the NBA from playing internationally in 2017, when the Knicks selected him eighth overall in the draft. The NBA game eventually slows down for players though, as they gain experience and take another step. That may not have been apparent with the Frenchman these past two years, but it takes longer for some than others, as he noted.

Ntilikina also said he remains “determined” and “motivated” to succeed with the Knicks, despite all that has happened:

"I am motivated, determined to succeed with the Knicks jersey. Being at this moment the one who wears the jersey since the longest time in the roster is a responsibility, and to deserve the respect of the Knicks fans, it will be only by the daily work with dedication every day in the training sessions to create the best systems to win games."

The tools for success have been there physically, with his 6-foot-6 frame and seven-foot wingspan; this translated defensively but has yet to mean anything at the other end of the court. If he wants to succeed, he must make shots as confidently as he did for Team France earlier this month.

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Ntilikina’s next step in his NBA career will be determined soon, when he takes the court for training camp and fights for a role on a crowded New York Knicks roster.