Frank Ntilikina confident Knicks ‘will surprise the entire NBA’ in 2019-20
The New York Knicks have not made the playoffs since 2013. They haven’t had a winning campaign in the last seven years and are coming off a 17-win season made all the more frustrating by an offseason that failed to bring any marquee free agents to the Big Apple.
Yet, while the Knicks continue to be one of the most scrutinized franchises in professional sports, the youngsters feel that they have something to prove.
In an interview with the “French Knicks Pod,” third-year point guard and France international Frank Ntilikina said that the Knicks are primed to shock the NBA this season:
“I am very happy to be a Knick and I believe in the Steve Mills project,” Ntilikina said. “The last two seasons, it was very clear that the goal was to play as much as possible the young players of the roster to develop them.
“This year, we will surprise the entire NBA, as I did with the french team at the World Cup.”
“Year 3” is often deemed as a pivotal season for young players, so Ntikilina has as much to prove as anyone else on the roster. After the Knicks selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Ntikilina has been underwhelming in his first two seasons while also producing negative win shares and an average PER of just 6.7 through two seasons.
The Knicks signed Julius Randle and Bobby Portis to headline their free agent class, but their success will mostly rely on improvements from the likes of Ntikilina and Dennis Smith Jr. as well as a strong rookie season from R.J. Barrett.