It’s no secret that Knicks head coach David Fizdale is high on his young team. Recently, he’s compared Frank Ntilikina to veteran Shaun Livingston.
The development of second-year guard Frank Ntilikina will be a hot topic among Knicks fans this season. Head coach David Fizdale is a big fan of Ntilikina and recently compared him to NBA champion Shaun Livingston.
After practice, Fizdale told Ian Begley of ESPN the following:
David Fizdale was asked today if he sees any Shaun Livingston in Frank Ntilikina. He talks about some similarities between Livingston and how he views Ntilikina here. Also, Fizdale reiterates that his starting lineups, particularly early in the year, won’t be set in stone: pic.twitter.com/nnnJ6ZTpRC
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 11, 2018
Fiz sees Ntilikina as a long and versatile player who can guard positions one through four and will have the ability to post-up smaller guards. And while it’s probably unlikely to expect a dream shake from the French Prince anytime soon, the hope is that Ntilikina develops this skill over time.
Livingston has become a major part of the Golden State Warriors second unit, and at times, has played major minutes during the playoffs. During last year’s postseason run, he eclipsed his regular season’s average in points per game and rebounds per game. Knicks fans will just settle for seeing Ntilikina in a playoff game but, would be floored if he had some of that bright lights mentality in him as well.
Ntilikina has been told to work on his aggressiveness on the offensive end. Thus far in the preseason, the French international seems to have developed a solid spin-move and turn-around jumper after he gets into the paint. But, the criticism has always been that coaches and fans want to see this type of play more often.
Furthermore, despite the small sample size, in the preseason, Ntilikina’s field goals attempted are almost completely equal to his average from the 2017-2018 season. Ntilikina, however, does have an ability to hit open three-point shots, something that definitely separates him from any comparison to Livingston.
Fiz also mentions that the opening night starting line-up may not be set in stone, giving Ntilikina plenty of opportunities to showcase his skills and develop this season.
With less than a week away from opening night, the good vibes surrounding the Knicks will soon be put to the test. In the same vein, all the summer work that Ntilikina and his teammates have put in will also be put to the test.
This is not a make or break year for Ntilikina but, defense cannot be his only calling card after year two.