With New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. out with a lower back injury, veteran Elfrid Payton and third-year player Frank Ntilikina will be handling a majority of the playing time during the preseason. However, rumors and reports of the Knicks’ potentially moving on from the Frenchman have arisen.
According to Forbes, the Detroit Pistons could be interested in trading for the Knicks point guard. He’s a sensible target for Detroit, as he is just 21 years old and they’re looking for cheaper talent they can develop.
Ntilikina is a former first-round pick during the Phil Jackson era who was never able to reach his potential at the NBA level, as of yet.
Should we remain hopeful for the New York Knicks point guard?
Averaging just 5.9 points and 3.1 assists per game over two seasons, Frank is looking to elevate his statistics and provide more production during the 2019-20 campaign. He proved his worth during the FIBA World Cup with France, overcoming a tough USA team that featured Kemba Walker. He outplayed the All-star and hit several timely jumpers to drag his team to an improbable victory.
His efficiency during the World Cup gave fans hope that he could finally reach his potential this upcoming season, and with Smith out with injury, it gives him additional minutes to show just that.
In the first preseason game, Ntilikina earned nine points, three assists, and five rebounds over 23 minutes of play. Payton played just two minutes more at 25 minutes and scored only five points. The younger options seem to be more productive on the floor and could earn additional minutes with Smith out until the regular season.
In the second game of the preseason against the Washington Wizards in which the Knicks lost 115-99, Ntilikina scored five points while Payton put up a fat zero on the scoresheet.
The Knicks may elect to shop Ntilikina, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. However, they don’t have enough depth to justify his departure and the value other teams believe he is worth will not match up to the expectations for the Knicks.