Incredibly, Frank Ntilikina, the Knicks’ 2017 lottery pick, is now the team’s longest-tenured player, along with Damyean Dotson.
Ntilikina played like he wants to stay that way when he led the French National Team to a bronze medal in the FIBA World Cup earlier this month.
As the 6-6 point guard arrives from France later this week to gear up for his third Knicks training camp, which starts Monday, scouting guru Nick Hauselman put up a six-minute Ntilikina video Wednesday on his YouTube scouting channel.
It served as a rave review of the Frenchman’s performance that included outplaying Team USA’s point guard Kemba Walker in France’s stunning quarterfinal upset.
Here’s the video…
And here’s Hauselman talking to the Post,
“The big thing was his willingness to shoot the basketball from distance, and his ability to hit floaters was 1B,” Hauselman told The Post. “That’s something he had been terrible at. Suddenly he’s nailing those. He wasn’t passing up shots. It looked like that was changing with FIBA — catching and shooting, shooting off the dribble, being much more decisive.”
“There’s so many NBA players out there and he did well against Team USA,” Hauselman said. “I don’t want to temper it too much. They’re all good players. If he can do that skill against those guys, he should be able to do it in the NBA. Finishing with those floaters is the only question. NBA big men are bigger, faster, stronger. But shooting should be the same.”
From the Deadspin write-up, “Here’s Dennis Smith Jr. taking some free throws which bear the troubling artistic influence of Markelle Fultz. The clip comes from a Redditor who claimed to spot the Knicks point guard at school—judging by the banners, it’s the Manhattan private school Avenues—and some credibility is gained from the fact that three different people appear upset that the video is being taken. Can’t blame them.”
The key quote is Smith talking about how important it is for him to help RJ Barrett win Rookie of the Year, “I’m treating that as one of my focal points just to help him win Rookie of the Year. And whatever I can do, I’m willing to do it. It’s important for us and it’s important for our team and it’s important for our morale moving forward, so I think it would be major if he won that.”
Smith also acknowledged the chip on his shoulder from the Porzingis trade, “I feel like I’ve got something to prove, chip on my shoulder still. So I’ve just been working, man. I try to attack every day and look at it as if I didn’t leave anything on the table, I got the most out of every day. That’s how I’ve been attacking each day this summer and so far it’s been paying off for me so I’m going to keep that going, bring it in to training camp and be a leader. Lead by example, earn my respect with these guys and then carry that into the season.”
Good stuff. It probably doesn’t mean anything, but hey, better to hear it than not hear it, right?
This Rafael Canton piece isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but hey, he’s talking about the Knicks, and that’s what we’re all sort of desperate for, right?
I figure that I’ll just post his five things and you can read the above piece to see his explanations and I guess everyone here can share the five things that YOU think that needs to happen for this season to be considered a success (I think Canton nails most of these, so I doubt many of us would quibble too much with these five. I personally think #4 isn’t that big of a deal, as I don’t think any of the 1s on the current roster will become the longterm Knick point guard).
1. Second Year Players Kevin Knox And Mitchell Robinson Taking The Next Leap
France has defeated Team USA 89-79 in a FIBA World Cup quarterfinal game at Dongguan, China.
The loss ends Team USA’s 58-game winning streak in international tournaments with NBA players on the roster. Their last loss was against Greece in the semifinals at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Donovan Mitchell scored 14 of his game-high 29 points in the third quarter to give the Americans the lead at the end of the period, 66-63.
They don’t mention Frank, but he played really strong defense in the fourth and scored some key points in the big comeback for France in the final quarter (he scored five of France’s 11 points in their deficit-erasing 11-0 run).
France went on an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter to retake a 82-76 lead that they never relinquished.
Fournier lead France with 22 points while Gobert poured in 21.
While this was obviously a much worse Team USA than normal, it was still a very embarrassing loss. Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell really came up short in the fourth.
It has been 18 years since 9/11 and the Knicks, as you might imagine, have honored the victims of the tragic terrorist attack many times in the years since. I thought I would share some memories of 9/11 from Mark Jackson, who was in his second season of his return to the Knicks at the time, as well as then-Knicks coach, Jeff Van Gundy, who resigned in December 2001.
Here’s Mark Jackson, as told to Marc Spears (then with Yahoo! Sports):
I was living in Saddle River, N.J. I remember my wife calling me down to the kitchen to watch the TV. As soon as I went into the kitchen we were basically speechless. We basically sat there frozen in the kitchen. We couldn’t believe. We were thinking a plane accidentally ran into the towers. We were physically speechless with all the details continuing to come and then watching the second plane and watching the towers fall. “Being from New York City, there is no way in the world that you think that could happen. You can’t even put it into words. You grow up and think that the towers would be there forever and nothing like this could ever happen. And to witness it … and to know people that were impacted by it whether loss in lives or family members or friends … to this day we still fill the sting of it. “I visited Ground Zero, the fire department, the police stations just to see the hard work and the people that were impacted. You remember that the rest of your life.
Here’s a YouTube video from that time period of Jackson and the rest of the then-current Knicks team visiting firefighters and their families…
Here’s Jeff Van Gundy, as told to Adrian Wojnarowski (then with Yahoo! Sports). Van Gundy, of course, lost his college roommate, Farrell Lynch, in the attacks (Lynch worked at Cantor Fitzgerald)…
“My only regret was that he was a better friend to me than I was in return. He started in construction, and went on to do great things at Cantor Fitzgerald, but he never got caught up where he was working. He’d stop down to see me at the Garden before a game, and always would say something to me before a game that would have a way of making you feel good, making you laugh. “In 1993, when the first bomb went off at the World Trade, he had taken that long walk down from the 104th floor, in the dark, and I’ll never forget what he told me the next day. He joked that he was going to buy a parachute in case it happened again. And I still wonder now: What if? What if? “When asked about it, I made the mistake of bringing him up when I resigned from the Knicks. For that, I still feel badly. It wasn’t something I wanted to go into. I don’t know what part it played in my decision, really. I just remember landing back in New York after four games in five nights on the road, we had won the last three, I think, and not feeling that brief moment of accomplishment about what your team had just done. We had a bad day of practice, where I wasn’t any good at all, and I just knew it was the right time. I was used to doing my job one way, with a complete laser-like focus, and that wasn’t there. But the one mistake I made was bringing that into play, and I still regret it.”
Earlier this year, the Knicks did a wonderful memorial stair climb at the Garden…
Obviously, I offer my own condolences to those who lost any family or friends in the horrible attacks.
I don’t know, man, I don’t even want to share it, but there’s so little Knicks news out there, that I guess I have to go with some Enes Kanter nonsense, as quoted by Yahoo! Sports’ Ryan Young:
“Not many people know that, but players talk. From different teams, they talk,” Kanter said on Bleacher Report’s The Full 48 podcast. “I’m not blaming anybody. I had an amazing time with the Knicks. But other teammates that I talked to or if they’re on different teams, they always said, ‘Amazing city, MSG is amazing everything is so good, but the ownership.’ They would just keep saying, ‘But the ownership.’ … Some of the players I guess are just scared to come here and don’t even want to deal with that.”
Kanter then noted that he was irked that if they were not playing him because they were developing the youth, why did they then start playing Deandre Jordan? Obviously, the answer was to suck up to Kevin Durant, but I guess that’s not something Kanter wants to hear.
Anyhow, like I note, it’s not much, but it’s sort of quasi-Knicks news, and that’s better than nuthin’.
Frank Ntilikina is finally fulfilling his potential.
Of course, it’s just in China at the FIBA World Cup with the French national team against the likes of Germany, Jordan and the Dominican Republic. But it’s a start, at least, as the Knicks’ 2017 lottery pick attempts to create a long-term future in New York.
Three games into the tournament, the 21-year-old Ntilikina has grabbed France’s starting point-guard job from Andrew Albicy.
The 6-foot-6 guard has impressed his more accomplished teammates with his defense and ball sharing, getting credit for slowing down the Thunder’s Dennis Schröder, who is playing for Germany.
“He’s a very, very talented player and an excellent defender, and I see a bright future ahead for him,” said Jazz center/French teammate Rudy Gobert, according to the FIBA website.
The Knicks staff is scouting the World Cup and talking with Ntilikina, whom they shopped on draft night.
“He’s been very aggressive and confident,” one NBA scout in China told The Post.
It’d be swell if Frank really has improved. I doubt outdoing Andrew Albicy really means anything, but really, better than NOT outdoing Andrew Albicy, right?