Frank Ntilikina displays switchability vs Spurs
Frank Ntilikina is having a breakout year, cementing his spot in the starting five after a couple of seasons in-and-out of the rotation. The problem has long been offense for the former eighth-overall pick, but he hasn't only made improvements to that side of the ball in 2019-20.
Against the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night, Ntilikina continued his development into an all-world defender, showing off his ability to guard multiple positions effectively. His 6'6" frame and 7' wingspan spoke to this potential, and we're seeing more and more flashes of it every night.
Watch Ntilikina get switched onto the much larger LaMarcus Aldridge, and impede his path towards low-post position or a potential offensive rebound, forcing a turnover:
Here, Ntilikina is switched onto DeMar DeRozan, who was having a very efficient night cooking New York's defenders one-on-one. Not against the French Prince:
Once again, Ntilikina finds himself switched onto a big man (Jakob Poeltl) and forces a turnover:
Plays like these are what makes Ntilikina such a promising prospect, and are why his fans have remained patient through the rough times. It was a terrific all-around performance defensively, with Ntilikina racking up six steals and a drawn charge, as well as some huge late-game stops as the Knicks mounted their comeback. There was also this gem:
If Ntilikina keeps on improving on this end, he's on his way to being one of the league's best defenders. Tonight was a small step in that direction.