Knicks Notes: Ntilikina, Porzingis, Noah, Hardaway

On the heels of two strong performances, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek wants to find more minutes for rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes. Veteran Jarrett Jack remains the starter with Ntilikina taking over late in games but the team does not want to push him too hard early in his career.

“We’re trying to get him some more minutes,” Hornacek said. “It makes it difficult late in games if he’s going well, he ends up playing a lot of minutes. Maybe we need to give him a break here and there.”

Ntilikina, 19, has averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.5 APG for the Knicks in 33 games while flashing his defensive capabilities. The Knicks took a risk drafting Ntilikina out of France with the eighth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The organization envisions him as the eventual full-time point guard. For now, the team will be cautious with his workload. “Not yet,” Hornacek said about giving Ntilikina more minutes. “That’s something we’ll continue to look at it, but for now, no.”

Check out other Knicks news below:

  • Kristaps Porzingis‘ frustration with his recent shooting struggles has spilled over into the referees’ officiating, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays.  Porzingis voiced his concern with a lack of called fouls on his shots and described his trick to avoid receiving technical fouls.  “When something like that happens, I look at the ref,’’ Porzingis said. “If I say something I try to delete it and sprint back. When I’m sprinting back, I’m already not thinking about it. That’s how I cut it off at that moment.’’ Porzingis is still averaging a career-best 24.5 PPG but his field goal percentage has dipped to .446%.
  • Joakim Noah received some rare playing time in the Knicks’ win over the Pelicans on Saturday and was appreciative of the minutes, Berman writes in a separate story. While Noah logged just four points and rebounds in 12 minutes, it was a good way to end a road trip that started with a DNP against his former team, the Bulls, in Chicago.
  • It’s no coincidence that a lot of the Knicks’ struggles with winning and scoring started once Tim Hardaway Jr. went down with a phantom stress injury in his left leg, several teammates told Berman of the New York Post. Hardaway was a steady presence, averaging a career-best 17.8 PPG in 21 games. The team continues to hope their starting guard is back sometime in January.
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