Rudy Gobert, Frank Ntilikina
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New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina was clutch on Wednesday and his French teammate, Nicolas Batum, wants everyone to know.

It’s hard to understate the importance of Frank Ntilikina‘s 2019 FIBA World Cup run. Thrust into a starting role, the New York Knicks point guard has answered the call.

One of his French teammates and a current Charlotte Hornet—Nicolas Batum—believes Ntilikina has played a major role in France’s success in China. His fourth-quarter outburst on Wednesday opened the door for the upset over Team USA.

“He was clutch,” said Batum via “And that was a big turnaround for us. We lost our point guard (Thomas Heurtel) to injury during the preparation, and we needed him to have a big tournament. It’s something that will help him for the rest of his career. And this can be a big deal for him during next year, cause he is a great player”.

One game won’t completely change the “bust” label many have prematurely given Ntilikina, but it’s a promising step forward nonetheless.

Starting as a 21-year-old in a major national tournament is no small accomplishment. Ntilikina has been matched up with legitimate NBA point guards like Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, and Dennis Schroder.

He’s held his own in every matchup, even winning his head-to-head battle with All-NBA point guard Kemba Walker.

That being said, Ntilikina’s next matchup against Argentina’s Facundo Campazzo won’t be easy. The dynamic Real Madrid point guard is electric with the ball in his hands. He’s had his fair share of jaw-dropping moves during the World Cup.

France and Ntilikina will square off with Argentina in the semifinals on Friday. The victor will move on to play the winner of Spain and Australia in the championship game on Sunday.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.