This is the Frank Ntilikina the New York Knicks have waited for

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 waited since the 2017 draft to see this young man progress.  Frank Ntilikina has finally begun to take the leap to becoming an important part of the Knicks future.

Over the past few games, Ntilikina has begun to play differently.  Maybe it’s because of this new ‘f**k it’ attitude that he has?  That is what coach David Fizdale says is different about him.

Ntilikina isn’t looking or reading to much into what others might be saying about his game and just playing.  He has a ‘clear head’ which can be seen in his new approach to the game.  The Knicks have seen a progression in Ntilikina that can very well put him into the plans for the future.

The Knicks saw what could be during the FIBA World Cup with Ntilikina contributing valuable minutes.  He was excellent in defending and his offensive game took a tiny step forward.

Now, Ntilikina has taken that even further with his play.

It all began when the Knicks got their third win of the season against the Dallas Mavericks.  Ntilikina only played 18 minutes but they were crucial.  In the fourth quarter, Ntilikina keyed in on Luka Doncic defensively and had the Garden rocking.  He was driving on the floor and making timely steals in crunch time.

Since that huge defensive performance, Ntilikina has been playing substantially well for the Knicks.  His defense could be in the discussion to be called ‘elite’ and his offensive game is coming.

Ntilikina had, by far, his best shooting performance for the New York Knicks this last game.  He had 17 points on 6-8 from the field against the Sixers.  You can see a progression in his offensive game and his confidence.  But you can especially see it in this play here.  There was a different feeling to that play where you can tell that Ntilikina’s offensive game is greatly improving.

Despite only being 2-2 in the their last four games, the Knicks have greatly benefited from Ntilikina’s defense.  He is not in conversation, or even remotely close, for defensive player of the year but his name should be brought up for the third team, at least.  That could be a major stretch but he deserves some type of recognition.  Ntilikina set the tone for the Knicks defensively and they have responded.  Along with some help from Taj Gibson.

Hopefully, Ntilikina can continue to blossom with this new ‘f**k it’ attitude.  It seems to be working and it was what Knicks fans have been waiting for.  Ntilikina’s playing himself into a role with the Knicks for the foreseeable future.