The 21-year old Ntilikina has had a wild rollercoaster ride to start his NBA career.Â The Knicks, & then team prisoner Phil Jackson, selected him 8th overall in 2017.
Ntilikina had, still has, a high ceiling. When selected, he was â€˜no-nameâ€™ for most American basketball fans.Â Coming out of France, he somewhat of â€˜projectâ€™.Â He was known for his defensive capabilities, not so much offense.Â Ntilkina wasnâ€™t the best shooter so thatâ€™s what needed the most work.
Many fans wanted Ntilikina traded for the longest time or not selected by the Knicks at all.Â Heâ€™ll be linked to a lot of players in that draft that have had better careers already.Â For example, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, selected 13th, and Heat center Bam Adebayo, 14th.
Despite all the negativity that surrounded Ntilikina thus far, heâ€™s persevered.Â Heâ€™s had 5 head coaches in his 3-year tenure with the Knicks. Ntilikina has also been the consistent professional dealing with numerous other guards being brought in by the Knicks.Â Weâ€™ve seen the likes of Dennis Smith Jr., Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, Timmy Hardaway Jr., Elfrid Payton, etc.
Some Knicks fans may not believe it but Ntilikina has improved his game each season.Â First, he improved his defense to adapt to NBA style of play.Â Then, his passing.Â After the FIBA basketball World Cup, his confidence, aggressive and shot all improved.
Before the NBA season was suspended due to COVID-19, Ntilikinaâ€™ game was outstanding.Â He was aggressive, seeing the floor beautifully, providing lockdown defense and a fan favorite.Â Ntilikina hasnâ€™t given up on being a valuable asset for the future and, hopefully, Rose & the New York Knicks havenâ€™t either.