Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ntilikina Gets Start at Point Guard for Knicks

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ntilikina Gets Start at Point Guard for Knicks

Article excerpt

NEW YORK – The Knicks have three point guards who each bring something different to the court. They each have different skill sets and strengths. Each works better in certain combinations and situations.

And that's how David Fizdale is evaluating his point guard situation.

Not necessarily by who the designated starter should be, but rather which combinations work effectively.

"What ends up coming out of it is what fits the best," Fizdale said. "All these guys are competing and nobody is flying out in front. Ultimately the final decider may be what combinations work the best. To be honest with you, there's not going to be anybody playing much more than 28 minutes a game anyway. Guys are going to get a lot of minutes whether they're starting or coming off the bench."

That's because of the fast-paced system Fizdale is installing, which relies on grabbing rebounds, getting out in transition and constantly moving the basketball.

"The pace I'm playing at, if you can play over 30 minutes comfortably, you're probably not playing very hard," Fizdale said.

Fizdale had started both Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay in preseason, while Frank Ntilikina had only been coming off the bench.

That changed Monday night, when Fizdale started Ntilikina in the Knicks' 110-98 loss to the Washington Wizards in their fourth preseason game at Madison Square Garden.

He was part of the starting five along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Kevin Knox, Lance Thomas and Noah Vonleh, who started at center as Fizdale wanted to get Enes Kanter some rest.

Fizdale said he wanted to see how Ntilikina played in that combination.

"Just want him to play free and enjoy the game, defend," Fizdale said before the game. "Offensively play with a real freedom and run the team. There will be no expectations other than helping us win games."

Ntilikina finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 1-of-2 from the perimeter. …

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