Report: The New York Knicks could commit to Frank Ntilikina under Leon Rose

Alexander Wilson
New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina
Nov 14, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina (11) reacts after being called for a foul during the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have a Frank Ntilikina situation to deal with, but how will Leon Rose approach it?

The Knicks and french point guard Frank Ntilikina have had a tumultuous relationship, mostly on the side of the organization, firing and hiring coaches like they’re enjoying a flight at a brewery. However, with Leon Rose, formerly an NBA super-agent, taking over, Ntilikina might actually benefit from the Knicks’ latest transaction.

Interestingly, Rose’s agency manages Ntilikina’s contractual agreements and marketing strategy, so there’s a potential conflict of interest there. However, it could bode well for the young point guard who’s looking for faith and motivation.

Ntilikina is a quality player with a defensive focus, as his offensive production has been limited in recent years. This past season, the PG posted 6.3 points per game, the highest its been in his entire career. Considering how low that number is, you can see how limited his offensive capabilities are.

His inefficiencies in some areas have led to the Knicks to explore trading him in the past, but those days might be behind him.

“It’s hard for me to put a percentage right now on the likelihood that Ntilikina is back with the team, but I do think that Leon Rose isn’t going to be out there shopping Ntilikina as the Knicks had been previously.”

I view Ntilikina as a situational player with great depth value, but I don’t believe he’s a starting point guard in the NBA. His lack of offensive development has severely hurt his abilities on the court, leading to Elfrid Payton overtaking him as the starter.

The categories that saw bumps were free-throw percentage (.767 in 2018 –>.864 in 2019-20), turnovers by .1, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage. Tellingly, most of his offensive numbers saw positive movement, but so minimal that it didn’t have much of an effect. His 5.8 attempts per game from the field was a significant decrease from the previous two seasons, indicating he played fewer minutes but was a bit better while no the court.

Overall, small incremental growth is a positive sign, and Rose could see that as a stimulus for keeping him.