NY Knicks: 3 ‘Secret Weapon’ players in the playoffs

NY Knicks, 2021 NBA Draft (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NY Knicks, 2021 NBA Draft (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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NY Knicks
Frank Ntilikina, NY Knicks. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks Secret Weapon #3: Frank Ntilikina

Ntilikina may truly be the only weapon for the Knicks that will be a secret held against any team they face off with.

Frank has not been a big member of the rotation recently. However, he did play several minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 11th. With Elfrid Payton’s minutes continuously dropping, and the ongoing gorgeous play of Derrick Rose, there are signs that point towards the Knicks guard rotation changing come playoff time.

It is widely accepted that Payton simply hurts the team more than he helps, which naturally is not something the Knicks want to happen going forward if they want to win games and advance to the second round. Thibodeau’s rotations seem to imply that he has come around to finally agreeing with the idea that Payton can’t be playing starters’ minutes.

As Payton’s numbers dwindle, perhaps Thibodeau will keep giving Frank a shot to play, and I believe this would be great for the team.

In 23 minutes during that Lakers matchup, Ntilikina scored 9 points, shooting 3-5 from the floor. All of his made shots were spot-up threes, which he made on 4 attempts. He also added 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block.

Aside from when Payton has his scoring going while attacking the basket, there isn’t anything that Payton can do that Frank can’t also do, if not do better. Frank can certainly be a better shooter and defender.

If Ntilikina sees playoff minutes and can replicate his performance against LA in those minutes, then he can make for a great secret weapon. Especially when you consider New York may be facing Trae Young, Jimmy Butler, or the tandem of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday in the first round, Frank’s defense can be huge when it comes to containing the Knicks opponent’s best perimeter players.

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