Knicks fans hoping for a breakout season from former eighth-overall pick Frank Ntilikina have a lot to write home about this season. He may not be an above average offensive threat quite yet, but the strides he has made are apparent.
Ntilikina has notched a career-high true-shooting clip in a year with five double-digit scoring nights, once a rarity for the passive point guard. He’s getting more of his looks from three-point range and the free throw line, and has attempted a couple of poster dunks much to the delight of those that have wished he’d be more aggressive.
It now seems head coach David Fizdale is beginning to increasingly entrust Ntilikina with scoring opportunities. In the third quarter of tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, he ran a set play for Ntilikina, resulting in a score:
This quick elbow pick-and-roll with Dotson hitting the pin-down on the weak side to space the court out has been run in the past, but mostly for Marcus Morris or RJ Barrett. Fizdale calling Ntilikina’s number here shows his growing faith in the developing prospect’s offensive potential. Ntilikina repaid his coach with a nice touch on his floater.
If Ntilikina continues to improve his scoring game, expect more of these opportunities to arise. Fizdale has preached a culture of earning minutes and responsibilities, and we’re seeing him hold to those principles with Ntilikina’s growth.