New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina’s strong showing should open eyes

Frank Ntilikina, France National Team, New York Knicks (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Frank Ntilikina, France National Team, New York Knicks (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images) /

Frank Ntilikina has some work to do to win over New York Knicks fans, his showing against Jordan could be that first step.

Patience is a virtue, and Frank Ntilikina just might be showing us why we should still be a believer. Since Ntilikina did not play in the Summer League this year, we did not know what he was capable of, so many New York Knicks fans were curious about how he would perform in a crucial year. Luckily, we can get an idea as he is participating in the FIBA World Cup.

On Tuesday, Frank was a big part of France’s win over Jordan 103-64. In the game, he went 3 for 5 in field goals, with 12 points, five assists, five rebounds, three steals, and a block.  He also played 21 minutes which is the third-highest on the team which is a good sign for the Knicks.

Understandably, the competition may not have been there; France was the heavy favorite coming into this game. If Ntilikina had not have produced in this game, that would have a more significant red flag in this stage. This past summer, many Knicks executives were ready to send him off to another team for pennies on the dollar, so any positives that can come out for Frank is a plus for him.

In France’s game over Jordan, Frank showcased a specific type of confidence. Confidence is the most important thing for the former 7th overall pick. In past games and seasons, he seems hesitant to make a play, but in this game, he seemed more comfortable to shoot the ball. He seems he isn’t afraid to drive in the paint and force some contact to score the points. That is the most significant factor for Ntilikina, and if he can develop more confidence in the court, he can become a bigger threat on offense for the Knicks.

With his strong showing on offense,  Frank also did a great job passing the ball around and creating plays for other teammates. With just 2.8 assists last year in his short season with the Knicks, this game was a huge step up to show what he can do with the ball. If he can continue to rack up assists with France, this should hopefully carry over back to New York.

Ntilikina’s biggest asset is his defense, and that should go without any question. In his game against Jordan, he also had a strong showcase on his defense as well. He stayed on opposing players and would allow them little to no room to produce any play on the court. His tight defense led to three steals on the day as well.

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It is understandable not to be totally convinced with Ntilikina’s performance as of right now, and that is perfectly okay. If this game says anything, however, we should keep an eye on him and how he performs the rest of the time being for France.