Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Hernangomez, Noah

The Knicks were expected to be among the worst teams in the league this year and they began the season with three straight losses. Since then, New York has won seven of ten contests and the team’s up-and-coming talent is confident in the long-term future of the franchise.

“We can build something great here and I’m sure we’re going to,” Frank Ntilikina said (via Ian Begley of ESPN.com).

Ntilikina believes squad has tremendous chemistry, as evidenced by Enes Kanter coming to the 19-year-old’s defense during a slight skirmish against the Cavs on Monday night.

“We’ll fight together in all our games,” Ntilikina said. “It was good to have them right here and they know I’ll be here for them. That’s just how we are.”

Here’s more from New York:

  • LeBron James took an indirect shot at Ntilikina early this week, telling reporters that No.9 overall pick Dennis Smith Jr. should be a Knick. Ntilikina, who went one spot ahead of the Mavs’ point guard, took the comments personally, as Begley relays in the same piece. “For somebody to go in the media and say something about him — or say it wasn’t about him — I mean, he took it personally. And that’s what all competitors do,” teammate Courtney Lee said.
  • Willy Hernangomez hasn’t seen much action this season, appearing in a total of seven games, and he admits that the lack of playing time has impacted his confidence, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays. “I just need a couple of games playing and my feeling will come back. I know the things I can do well. It’s been harder for me, but I just have to be patient. Things change fast,” the center said.
  • Joakim Noah was inactive in his first game back from his 12-game suspension, though he remains involved with the Knicks as the team’s “defensive captain,” Bondy adds in the same piece.“The guys have voted for some players to kind of step up and speak,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s behind the bench now so he can continue the talk defensively with the guys. I talked to him about doing that and make sure he’s not just sitting back there but he’s involved. He’s not the only [captain]. There are several guys in different roles. That’s just Jo’s role, on the defensive side.”
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6 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Hernangomez, Noah

  1. icedog7229

    First of all, I want to thank OKC for not only taking Melo off our hands but giving us kanter. What is OKC thinking. What a great player this guy is and to stick up for his teammates speaks volumes. Melo wouldn’t have had the guys to stand up to lebron

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  2. Greg

    Got to be honest, I wasn’t happy about the acquisition of Kanter in the Melo deal, but I was definitely wrong on that one. I’m actually starting to like this team again, I was starting to consider moving on after 35 years of fandom at the end of last season, but the gritty basketball and what seems to be really good chemistry already has me interested again.

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  3. Wally

    Kanter brings skills and intangibles that Melo didn’t have. Kanter defended his teammate. Melo would have been smiling, hugging and making dinner dates.

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  4. I knew Kanter would be extremely effective playing with KP. Kanter’s offensive PER was always great, and went beyond scoring, even playing in lineups that didn’t suit his skill set. The supposed issues with his defense were part of Utah narrative developed when he was a very young player playing uneven backup minutes behind Jefferson/Millsap. Even playing with Adams limited him. Playing 4/5 with KP, whose game complements his, was bound to lead to a breakout season. While Kanter was the key piece, I also think DM can become a key rotation player for the team long term (his profile suggests it would take time to adjust to the league, and he’s never been given the minutes to do it – hopefully, at some point this year, he will be). These guys were the 3rd and 11th picks in their drafts. Kanter despite not playing competitively for almost two seasons prior. They’re still upside in both.

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    • x%sure

      Very smart & informative. But did you predict it for the record? I don’t recall anyone sticking up for Kanter like that. It was all Arg & Ugh and obsolete-style backup center!

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