New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale is starting RJ Barrett and Wayne Ellington in the backcourt on Wednesday against the Orlando Magic, which means Frank Ntilikina will once again come off the bench.
Even though Elfrid Payton is out versus the Magic and Dennis Smith Jr. is away from the team due to a death in the family, Fizdale is still going to bring Ntilikina off the bench. He explained why:
Fizdale explains that Frank Ntilikina will play “a ton of minutes” but is afraid to lose him to foul trouble if he starts. Ridiculous.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) October 30, 2019
Ntilikina has yet to score on the season. He's playing 8.3 minutes per game. The Knicks enter Wednesday with a record of 1-3.
Ntilikina had a solid FIBA World Cup showing for France this summer. There was talk in the offseason that the Knicks were looking for a late second round pick for Ntilikina in trade talks.
Ntilikina has career averages of 5.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 124 games with the Knicks while shooting 35.1 percent from the field, 30.1 percent from beyond the arc and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line.
The Knicks drafted Ntilikina with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. New York was hoping Frank would turn into a franchise point guard for them.
That clearly won’t happen, as the 21 year old is severely limited in what he can do on offense — although he’s an above average defender.