New York Knicks: Five narratives that have defined 2019-20 so far

New York Knicks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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3. Frank Ntilikina has taken point guard

The calls for Frank Ntilikina started in the season’s first few games. Fizdale seated him while Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton controlled the point guard minutes, and the team struggled to produce quality play from this position.

Once Smith Jr. left the team for a funeral, and when Payton injured his hamstring, Ntilikina gained the starting role by default. Fizdale had nowhere else to turn, especially after the RJ Barrett experiment failed miserably in the season opener. The results, since then, have been mostly positive.

Through 16 games and 12 starts, Ntilikina has 6.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and just 1.1 turnovers per game. In just his starts alone, those numbers jump to 7.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.1 steals. Heck, he even has a shooting percentage above 40 and 35.3 percent on three-pointers.

Shot making is still a crutch in Ntilikina’s game, as seen with that missed chance in the Brooklyn Nets game. He has to make more open baskets, but that comes with development, and the Frenchman is still just 21 years old. This starting role may have fallen into his lap, but the Knicks must stay patient and keep him in this role through the end of the season.