Frank Ntilikina says he has ‘that feeling back’ after France wins bronze at World Cup
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina and France just bagged the bronze medal after dropping Australia in their battle for third on Sunday at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The French came back to win 67-59 to cap off a successful tournament.
France got major contributions from a number of players throughout the tournament, including Ntilikina. After winning bronze, Ntilikina admitted he feels healthy again and has regained his form by playing in the World Cup:
Ntilikina says "I'm healthy again" and that "I just have that feeling back" after getting through eight games "in a very short period." As for the Knicks, Frankie says the "whole group is very hungry for next season."
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 15, 2019
Frankie Smokes had a solid showing for France in their third place finish. In eight games, he averaged 8.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Likewise, the Frenchman knocked down several key baskets in their quarterfinal win to help knock off Team USA from the tournament.
Participating in international basketball over the summer has done wonders for several NBA players over the years. Ntilikina will definitely benefit from this experience, especially being a key contributor for France.
Ntilikina, selected eighth overall by the Knicks in the 2017 draft, hasn’t quite had his breakout campaign in the NBA. He had an underwhelming rookie campaign, with averages of just 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, all while shooting just 36.4 percent from the field.
In his sophomore season, he dealt with a lingering groin injury that forced him to miss 39 games on the year. His numbers consequently regressed to 5.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on an abysmal 33.7 percent shooting.
The Knicks, however, have not given up yet on their defensive-minded point guard, though he has been the subject of many a trade rumor. With a healthy and solid showing in this year’s FIBA World Cup under his belt, perhaps a breakout might come this upcoming season for Frank Ntilikina.