NY Knicks: Why Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox are still valuable

NY Knicks, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NY Knicks, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Both Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox should are valuable, even if they’re at the end of the NY Knicks‘ bench, and here’s why…

After watching 52 Knicks games this season, it’s definitely been cemented that in terms of the Knicks’ rotation, Tom Thibodeau will not go away from his commitment to play 10 guys night in and night out.

While it’s great to see consistency for the first time in what seems like a while, you can’t deny that it has limited the development of players like Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox.

Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox can still provide value to the NY Knicks

With both of these players having their minutes severely reduced since the opening tip of the NBA season, it’s undeniable that there are a lot of questions surrounding their futures, especially with the Knicks.

While Knox and Frank have very little to do with the higher amount of success New York has seen this season, that doesn’t take away from the fact that their value as role players is still high.

Frank Ntilikina’s Defense is at an extremely high level:

Despite being a big fan of Frank’s I would for sure be one of the first to agree that his offense is not NBA-ready and that he’s a negative contributor most of the time on that side of the ball.

However, I firmly believe that if there’s a guard or small forward that needs to be held in check for a good period of time, you can always call Ntilikina’s name.

In seasons where Frank was indeed in the Knicks rotation, the team’s defensive rating ranked in the 90th percentile during his second and third seasons in the NBA.

His ability to guard the perimeter limits shooters from getting off clean shots without getting fouled and he’s also uncanny when it comes to clogging up the passing lane and making sure ball movement is limited for the opposition.

If someone like Reggie Bullock, Alec Burks, or Immanuel Quickley goes down, while their offenses won’t be replaced I would be satisfied with Frank being their replacement until their return date comes and I don’t think the team would have a lesser chance to win games.

Kevin Knox’s shooting has become the staple of his game:

Now it’s important to note that Knox has played the least amount of minutes of his career this season and that his sample of stats isn’t very reliable…but when looking at them, there are some impressive eye-popping numbers that you have to consider a positive when it comes to Knox’s lost third season in the NBA.

Kevin is only averaging 4.7 points per game this year over 33 contests, a career-low.

Despite this, Knox’s 3-point percentage is a career-high 41% and his corner 3s ascend 55%.

While I’m disappointed in the fact that Knox’s game has changed for the worst since his days at Kentucky and his aggression has really declined, it’s important to look at what can be rather than what once was and ask ourselves how Knox can contribute while he’s on the roster.

If Coach Thibodeau wasn’t so stubborn with his rotations, I would really like it if Knox would come in during the last few minutes of the first 3 quarters and just be able to knock down some shots providing a small boost to the offense.

The reason he’s not trusted to do this is because of his lacking game on the defensive side of the ball.

The Knicks’ coaching staff has emphasized finishing quarters strong each game and with Knox on the floor, he’s a big liability when it comes to the aforementioned defense as well as transition basketball.

If offense is needed though, Kevin Knox is far from a bad option.

As of April 9th, there are only 24 games remaining in the NBA season before the playoffs commence.

Will Knox and Ntilikina see increased playing time? That depends.

However, regardless of the changes we see to the roster if there are any, having Frank and Kevin at the end of the bench is not a burden to the team and hopefully, they can have some sort of increased positive contribution down the line.

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