Knicks will need their secret defensive weapon against Brooklyn

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) walks off the court during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are going into an all-out battle against Brooklyn Nets on Monday evening. With the best defense in the NBA, the Knicks have only allowed 103.9 points per game, alternatively, Brooklyn ranks second in the NBA in points per game with 118.7. However, they have the best field goal percentage out of any team at 49.4%, featuring three players in the top 25 regarding three-pointers made on average.

The Knicks don’t have a single player in the top 50 in three-pointers made per game, meaning they’re going to need to lock down the perimeter defensively and hope their long ball is effective against Brooklyn. Nonetheless, defense will be their primary focus, as usual.

The Knicks have struggled recently on offense, despite a demolition of the Detroit pistons where they scored 125. Previously to that contest, the Knicks had only reached 100 points once in their last three games, coming in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, reaching 101.

Recently, a lack of offensive production has hurt the team, but their defense has been as effective as ever. Brooklyn will need to fight through a tough interior unit, but if their three-ball is on, the Knicks will have a lot of problems. That is why they might want to consider utilizing their secret defensive weapon, Frank Ntilikina.

Frank earned rave reviews from head coach Tom Thibodeau.

“Kevin and Frank have been phenomenal,’’ Thibodeau said. “I know when they’re called upon they’ll be ready. It’s important for them to get minutes. At some point, you need everyone.’’

While the Knicks haven’t utilized Ntilikina that often, he is still a valuable piece to the team that can fill a specific role. The Knicks will likely have their primary starters, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Frank locked in on Kyrie Irving at points in the contest. He doesn’t offer much offensively, but that’s one category he excels in.

So far this season, Frank is averaging just 3.9 points, 0.8 assists, and 0.8 steals all career lows. Currently, in his fourth year in the NBA, he was expected to take a more significant jump forward regarding his point production, but he continues to be more of a defensive role player. The Knicks will likely need him against Brooklyn, so he should be ready for action.