Knicks Morning News (2018.01.01)

  • [SNY Knicks] Hornacek wants more minutes for Ntilikina, but not ready to start him just yet
    (Sunday, December 31, 2017 9:26:30 AM)

    As Frank Ntilikina continues to improve in his rookie season, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is looking to get him some more minutes on the court.

  • [NYPost] Dirk Nowitzki: ‘Sky’s going to be the limit’ for Kristaps Porzingis
    (Sunday, December 31, 2017 10:16:40 PM)

    Dirk Nowitzki is regarded as the best international player in NBA history. Only the sixth player to reach the 30,000-point milestone, Nowitzki believes one day Kristaps Porzingis will best him. The Mavericks’ 39-year-old legend called the 7-foot-3 Latvian “a walking mismatch.’’ “He plays a lot more defense than I ever have, I’ll tell you that,’’…

  • [NYPost] The point guard Knicks passed on clears the air with Ntilikina
    (Sunday, December 31, 2017 10:31:41 AM)

    The irony is Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. likes Frank Ntilikina a lot — on and off the court. Forever inextricably linked, Smith and Ntilikina were in the same city — New Orleans — again Friday as they were on draft night in June. With the Pelicans facing a Mavericks-Knicks back-to-back, Smith lit up…

  • [NYDN] How Knicks can ring in new year the right way
    (Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:12:44 PM)

    No way around it. 2017 was a flaming dumpster village for the Knicks.

  • [NY Newsday] Joakim Noah’s return shows Knicks he can be big help
    (Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:07:27 PM)

    Joakim Noah’s season totals read more like what the Knicks hoped he would give them per game.

  • 30 replies on “Knicks Morning News (2018.01.01)”

    Happy New Years KB. Hopefully KP’s resolution is to never shoot a contested fadeaway mid range jumper ever again.

    So the month that Knicks fans have been dreading (or if you’re in the tank camp, anticipating with glee) is upon us. 4 home games, 12 road games, including 7 in a row from 1/15-1/26.

    By 1/31 we’ll know where this team is heading – playoff contender or lottery bound.

    I’d be interested in everyone’s prediction for this stretch. I’ll start – 6 wins 10 losses. That may be optimistic, and depends on health, particularly Timmy, but there are a fair number of bad teams on the schedule.

    Prognosticate away, and Happy New Year!

    Happy New Year to all!

    Extremely cold here in TN for awhile now (currently 17 degrees), but sadly no snow (I grew up in Mass. and still like snow).

    I’ll go for 7-9.

    We play a lot of bad teams in this stretch and Hardaway is probably coming back soon. We play the Mavs, Heat, Grizzlies, Nets, Lakers, Suns, Pelicans at home, Bulls, even the Jazz and Nuggets are very winnable games.

    I wish they would crumble and just tank already, but I always try to predict that the Knicks will do the opposite of what I want them to do, so…

    6-10 sounds about right. 8-8 wouldn’t shock me, though. When KP plays well, we’re a pretty good team.

    I’d be content if we ended the month starting Frank, Timmy, MCd, Kanter and KP.

    If you take a look at the standings you’ll see that the knicks position probably won’t change after this dreaded January schedule has played out. Probably, they’ll drop one seed.
    One seed, that’s hardly a reason to want to tank.
    They’ll be sitting in the 9th or 10th seed with the worst of the schedule behind them. They’ll have more experience as a team, THJ back in the lineup, and with some luck, a new player that will help this team going forward (that we traded KOQ to get).
    The bunched up four to eight seeds will feel within striking distance.
    I see the knicks ending somewhere between the 6 and dreaded 8 seed. I used to loathe the idea of finishing 8th. For what? Just to say you made the playoffs, and get bounced out in four or five games – as opposed to getting a better draft pick that would be more beneficial going forward.

    Not now. I think the knicks would be better off in the last playoff spot. For starters, picking a slot or two higher in the draft means nothing if you don’t pick the right guy. . . . and if you don’t have the lucky ping pong ball.
    Experience, establishing a winning mentality and culture, making MSG a desirable landing spot, and ridding the stench of being a perennial bottom feeder are higher priorities for this team.

    btw, did anyone watch the Rockets meltdown vs. the Celts? James Harden is a savant on O, but he’s a serious head case. Considering some of his playoff disappearing acts, I have a hard time imagining him being the marquis player on a championship team.

    I didn’t see the game. What happened? His step back three seems impossible to defend.

    My interest in prospects drops right around the 12-13th pick(Bruce Brown aside). It would be a godsend if Mikal Bridges were still there at 13.

    I’ve been thinking about the Ntilikina discussion of yesterday. My experience is there is a big difference between, say a college sophomore and a college freshman, which is sort of the age difference between Ntilikina and other point guard draftees. Of course there are freshman who seem as mature a many sophomores, but I am talking about the expected development of one particular person. At that age I think 9 months can be meaningful.


    It was almost like he was trying to find a way to lose subconsciously. The first one could happen. The second one was ridiculous. That’s the kind of stuff that happens to idiots and players that have never played under pressure before.

    I’ve been thinking about the Ntilikina discussion of yesterday. My experience is there is a big difference between, say a college sophomore and a college freshman, which is sort of the age difference between Ntilikina and other point guard draftees.

    Setting aside comparisons to other players, yesterday I demonstrated that Frank has been making significant progress in 3 areas that were a problem at the start of the season. He made that progress in less that 3 months. Even if there is some uneven progress going forward (and there will be), how can anyone argue that 7-9 months more won’t matter. In all likelihood, he’s going to “earn” the starting spot in a couple of months because he gotten even better. It’s tough for very young PGs to come out blazing as efficient scorers, high level defenders etc.. He’s the youngest of them all.

    I think this is just something we’ll never know. How impactful is moving from France to the U.S.? I have legitimately no idea and it’s probably impossible to measure as it’s case by case every time.
    For all we know about Frank, Lonzo, Smith Jr, Mitchell etc, we have no idea who these guys really are, what affects them negatively or positively etc, we can only make educated guesses from results they show.

    As a Knicks fan, I’m glad that Frank is improving and I think its fair to expect him to be a solid rotation player this year and probably a decent starter next year. My hunch is that he’s not a guy who will take major leaps from one stretch to the other, but will instead make minor but constant incremental improvements here and there. We’ll see.

    All in all, this entire rookie class is looking like a group of very impactful players.

    Happy New Year to all.

    I’ll go with 6-10 on the upcoming stretch. They just have not played well on the road for the most part. We’ll see.

    The last I checked Frank Ntilikina lives with his agent in New Jersey. He’s a young kid, but I do not think Frank Ntilikina is less developed than the other guards. For one, he’s the best defender in his class and will be an absolute gameplan wrecker in a couple years. Frank also has a higher basketball IQ than the other guards because he’s been a professional for a longer period of time. Where he’s behind is he has so little experience being a primary ball handler and an alpha dog that his ball handling and dribble penetration are behind in development, and that’s the easy stuff to see because it’s physical and has to do with offense. I think his handle will improve and so will his ability to initiate, but I’d be so happy with him at the 2 and a guard like Jalen Brunson at the 1. A lot of defense, shooting, and intelligence at the guard spots to compliment our front court, and Brunson should have no problem getting to the basket at the next level. He reminds me of another Villanova guard in Kyle Lowry.

    The funny thing is, for all the discussions about Frank and Smith Jr. (Mitchell too), they would be so cool to watch as a backcourt pair.

    Frank is an excellent defender for his age. He still has lots to learn, but all the tools are there. There aren’t that many difference makers at the guard spot these days because of the way the game is played. What I like about Frank is that he’s like a reverse Draymond on p&r defense, long enough to switch on to bigs w/o creating a massive mismatch (Draymond is quick enough to switch onto guards.) And you can tell he LOVED playing D, which is nice to see. That quality in and of itself makes him a valuable rotation player. It’s still a bit early to start thinking of him as a DPOY candidate, though. Let’s see how offenses react to him as he starts playing more and the word (and more film) gets out. He’s definitely being noticed, though.

    As to offense, he’s got some fundamental issues with ball handling and with finishing. I still don’t think the word is out on how to defend him (get in his grille and throw doubles and traps at him while playing the passing lanes). He can’t really turn the corner or blow by anyone, especially quicker guys.

    Some guys adjust to that and become effective PGs, some don’t. Sometimes it’s about reps, sometimes it’s an innate thing. I’ve been skeptical because not too many guys come into the league as 2’s get successfully converted into 1’s. He may have some good assist numbers here and there, but that doesn’t make him a PG (Draymond averages 8.6 assists per 36 on only 3.3 TOs and he’s not a PG.)

    So that’s why I see him developing into a playmaking defensive 2 with a decent pull-up J. Maybe he bucks the odds and makes huge jumps in his PG skills, but it isn’t as easy as some here make it sound. Seriously, who’s done it?

    Frank Ntilikina is the Jason Kidd to Trae Young or Jalen Brunson’s Raymond Felton. The Felton-Kidd/Paul-Billups/Dragic-Bledsoe starting backcourts were excellent pairings and I think the Knicks need that with Frank. Frank has a ton of experience as an off guard and would bring a newfound important to the 2 guard spot as a supporting role. He should shoot to be a playmaking Klay Thompson type, and we should go grab his partner in crime in this draft. That Jalen Brunson kid out of Villanova would be perfect, and he’s old enough to fit in with our group of guys and be undervalued in the draft process. His stat profile is through the roof.

    Jrue Holliday actually started his college career sharing backcourt duties with Nick Collison in UCLA. He was not a pure PG who had worse TO/AST ratio than Frank at an older age his rookie season with a similar build and became a bonified NBA point guard as his career progressed. He’s a good comp to me of someone who blossomed into the position to be an All-Star caliber starter at the position. Hell, check out George Hill’s stats in college. He was no pure point guard there either.

    Guys I can think of that have things in common with Frank…big, defensive guards with just so-so PG skills:

    Dennis Johnson (Celts version, not the finals MVP version from Seattle, that’s too much to ask)
    Terry Porter (best case?)
    Ron Harper (although he was super-athletic, was in the slam-dunk contest a couple of times)
    Shaun Livingston (better ball-handler, not much range)
    Nate McMillan (most similar, moved off the ball to accommodate The Glove)
    Iman Shumpert (Frank’s floor? NYK tried him at PG his rookie year, didn’t work)
    Marcus Smart (different body, but another hard-nosed 2 with lots of minutes at the 1)
    Danny Ainge (no shit! excellent defensive player, played a bit of 1 on an all-time great passing team)

    All of these guys were glue guys that played on great teams. That’s the key with a guy like Frank…to put a great team around him.

    Actually, its interesting Z-Man raises Dennis Johnson. He also starting his career off the ball as a 2-guard with Seattle and evolved into a PG.

    So if you have a Jrue Holiday who is a great defender, how good a player is that?

    @25 DJ was a HOF player right out of the box, pretty much the Kawhi Leonard of his day (finals MVP in his second year) who adapted to playing PG late in his career on a team with Larry Bird playing point forward. Bird called him the smartest player he ever played with. That’s a pretty tall order for Frank.

    @26, that’s an interesting comparison. I think you would have a lousy, overpaid PG running your offense, but the defense would definitely help. Can you believe that it’s Holiday’s 9th year in the league? It took him six years to break the .100 WS48 barrier, hopefully Frank doesn’t take that long to develop.

    Dennis Johnson scored 9.2 points per game as a 22-year-old rookie shooting guard. I seriously doubt those are HOF numbers and if they are then Frank is well on his way to Springfield.

    Can you believe that it’s Holiday’s 9th year in the league? It took him six years to break the .100 WS48 barrier, hopefully Frank doesn’t take that long to develop.

    Holiday is a poor WS/48 because his defensive metrics are sucky. He’s be a far better player if he had Frank’s defense.

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