The Knicks finished what was another losing season, Jeff Hornacek ended up getting fired and their franchise player Kristaps Porzingis went down with an ACL injury to put playoff
hopes to rest midway through the season. He’s expected back sometime during January and is expected to make a full recovery so at least that is some good news for Knicks fans.
The Knicks will have to pay Porzingis a max when the time comes and their is no way that should even be debated. We are talking about a 7 foot athletic big who plays like a guard on the perimeter and can get his shot off over any player in the NBA. Strength and durability are still red flags but their is absolutely no way the Knicks refuse re-signing Porzingis if they have any hopes of becoming relevant again. I really think Porzingis is that type of star to lead you back to the top, he just needs health on his side because the talent to be a future Hall-of-Famer is there.
I’d like to chime in on Frank Ntilikina who was drafted 9th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. Frank has a reputation for the one player no one could make a clear opinion on because he played overseas but watching highlights you could see the exceptional on ball defense and ability to knock down perimeter shots. I saw as much videos as I can before the draft and he reminded me a lot of Chauncey Billups, Chauncey was not the quickest guard in the league but had good size and took quality jump-shots all the time and always seemed to shoot in rhythm.
Frank Ntilikina for the most part did not get the exposure I thought he would this season, which might be the reason Jeff Hornacek was relieved of duties as Knicks coach. Jarrett Jack and Ramon Sessions were supposed to serve as mentors for Frank Ntilikina but Jeff should have started him a lot earlier in the season just to get the kid some experience on the court. Frank never ended up playing big time minutes but did display the ability to hit crucial shots in crucial moments and he also did not backdown from Lebron James when the Cavaliers came to the Garden earlier in the season. Frank did not back down from Lebron when Lebron tried to get in his head mentally by playing the bully role getting in Frank’s way.
Towards the end of the season I saw a more confident Frank, he looked a lot more comfortable passing the ball and more willing to drive to the basket. He seemed a lot more willing to shoot also, earlier in the season he was hesitant coming off screens most of the time and looked for an extra pass when the shot was available. He said he wanted to model his game after DeMar DeRozan in the off-season and if that is in the works I expect him to be ready to take over at the point next season and even make a bid for the All-Star game next season. He’s such a good on ball defender and a pest chasing guards off the ball that his value on the court is immense since in today’s game mostly every NBA team has dynamic guards who look to score and can shoot from the outside.
That said Knicks fans should be patient, I hear a lot of NBA fans and even Knicks fans labeling the kid a bust and he is the furthest thing from it. He’s got all the tools to be a great point guard and we can’t expect greatness right off the gate, not every NBA player becomes an All-Star their very first season. Look at players like Jimmy Butler,Giannis Antetokoumpo, even Stephen Curry who did not become superstars their very first season. The same can be said about Lonzo Ball who averaged 10 points 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Laker fans are ready to move on from him, be patient.
Frank only played 21 minutes per game this first season but he has all the makings of a star, the Knicks should be focused on bringing in a coach like Mark Jackson who mentored Stephen Curry into becoming the superstar he is today. Mark Jackson helped develop Stephen Curry,Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green and the Warriors improved from 23 wins to 47 wins and topped out at 51 wins before Jackson was fired. Mark did all the heavy lifting and Steve Kerr came in and made a couple tweaks and the Warriors became a force on both ends of the floor. Why can he not to the same with Knicks?
Frank Ntilikina and Kristaps Porzingis play both sides of the ball and are both more athletic players then Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are at their respective positions. Having athletic ability allows for a higher ceiling on the defensive end and Frank and Kristaps possess plenty of it. Kristaps is further along the learning curve and has already established himself as an All-Star but Frank is the perfect point guard for Mark Jackson to take under his wing and develop into a two way force. I really see a combination of Kyrie and Leonard in Frank Ntilikina, yes I do know Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard are superstars in the NBA and I am not trying to say Frank Ntilikina will reach their levels but the potential is definitely there.
To conclude the Knicks have an untapped ceiling with Frank Ntilikina leading the way, the kid really has the makings of a perennial All-NBA defender and I see a lot of all-star game appearances in his future. I did not even touch on the wingspan Frank Ntilikina possesses, really long arms just like elite defenders Kawhi and Giannis. Bring in Mark Jackson to coach both Frank and Kristaps and look to bring in an athletic forward like Mikal Bridges who projects to be the ideal 3 and D forward who can knock down jump-shots and is already NBA ready on the defensive end and the Knicks could be in the Finals 2 years from now. Stay patient Knicks fans.