Frank Ntilikina won’t play with the French National team in September. Instead, he will focus on his second season with the New York Knicks.
Although they would never show it publicly, the New York Knicks front office is probably jumping for joy. The reason being, second-year point guard Frank Ntilikina has decided not play with the French National team in the upcoming FIBA qualifiers in September.
Frank Ntilikina told l'Equipe that he will NOT play for France 🇫🇷 in upcoming #fibawc qualifiers. He wants to be as ready as possible for his second season in the NBA with Knicks.
— Sportando (@Sportando) August 24, 2018
Truth be told, this was probably not an easy decision for the young playmaker. Ntilikina joins Lauri Markkanen as a fellow NBA rising star who will not be playing for his national squad during September qualifiers. Ntilikina, via l’Equipe, made his feelings known regarding the timing of the tournament.
“It is with great honor and pride that I received the announcement of my selection. However, at the dawn of my second NBA season with the New York Knicks, the timing appears very complex. It is with great regret that I will not be able to finally join the rest of the group.”
Ntilikina has certainly made a very prudent decision. With a new coach and most likely a whole new offensive and defensive system, Ntilikina most likely thought better of missing key time during training camp and other team activities.
Furthermore, Ntilikina knows that his spot as a potential starter with the Knicks and, even as a rotational player is not guaranteed. Last season Trey Burke, at times, looked like a poor man’s Allen Iverson. He will certainly be pushing for a starter’s minutes.
In addition, new head coach David Fizdale has even made positive comments about newly acquired Emmanuel Mudiay, stating that he likes his length and ability to get to the basket. And on top of that, there are the ever-present rumors circling regarding a superstar point guard from New Jersey. Maybe you’ve heard of him, Kyrie Irving.
With all that said, it appears that the Knicks remain committed to the development of Ntilikina. For his sake, this appears to be a good sign. In return, Ntilikina has shown good faith and sent a message to the front office that he will be ready to battle for his spot come September.