Knicks’ Opt to Start Frank Ntilikina Over Rookie Kevin Knox

NY Knicks' forward Kevin Knox. Photo by Scott Kinser/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (9323805y)

It looked like Kevin Knox, New York Knicks’ ninth overall pick in 2018 NBA Draft, is off to a great start of his NBA career. Knox started all Knicks preseason games, leading people to believe that he will be a starter in his rookie season. But New York’s head coach David Fizdale decided to go in other direction and announced on Tuesday Frank Ntilikina will take the starting spot from Knox at the beginning of the season.

According to Fizdale, Ntilikina, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, earned to be a starter.

I think the most important thing I was trying to get out of it was culturally you’ve got to earn it,” – said Fizdale. “I don’t think Kevin got to the point where he earned it more than Frank. But there were some good things for Kevin (in the preseason), and I was really happy with him having to go through highs and lows early on.

Kevin Knox had a great showing in NBA Summer League, where he averaged 21.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. In the preseason games, however, he showed great inconsistency, shooting 33 percent from the field and averaging only 8.8 points per game.

He had the two double-doubles early and then he hit a wall.” – added Fizdale. “That’s just a learning opportunity for him. I don’t want to reward that yet. I do think Frank, consistently throughout the preseason, no matter where I put him, he got the job done. So for our culture that’s more important.

The role of a starter will be a new one for Frank Ntilikina, who spent his rookie season mostly coming off the bench. In 78 games played in the last season, Ntilikina averaged 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.