The Knicks kicked off the second half with a 120-113 win over the Magic in Orlando. As planned, the trio of Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Trey Burke shared the backcourt duties with veteran Jarrett Jack taking a DNP. Burke contributed 26 points in 29 minutes while Ntilikina (29 minutes) and Mudiay (22 minutes) also tallied significant time.
While the acquisition of Mudiay at the deadline signaled the Knicks’ plan to acquire young talent, the 19-year-old Ntilikina should not worry about his standing with the team, Al Iannozzone of Newsday writes.
“You look at Frank right now and he’s a great defender for a 19-year-old kid,” Hornacek said. “The offense will come — his speed and strength, all that stuff. You can’t expect a lot more from a 19-year-old kid. So he’s been great.”
The Knicks have made it clear that the second half of the season will revolve around young players and essentially auditioning for the future. Ntilikina is as strong a part of that future as anybody on the roster.
Check out other NBA news out of New York:
- A solid early start to the season fooled many into thinking the Knicks could make a run at the playoffs. With 22 games left, the postseason is all but ruled out and the team must now focus on the future, Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes. Sloppy play on the road and numerous injuries stalled what looked to be a promising season in the first two months. “You still go back to, ‘It’s kind of a long-term plan.’ We got off to a good start, maybe changed everyone’s thoughts. But they were home games, we knew we had a long way to go,” Hornacek said.
- D’Angelo Russell made his first start for the Nets since mid-November on Thursday and the plan to have him and Spencer Dinwiddie share the backcourt is in full-swing, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays. “We’ve started to do it more, get a sample size. It’s something similar to Jeremy [Lin] and D’Angelo in the beginning,” Atkinson said. “I do like that. I do like having two guards that can really handle the ball.”
- Michael Scotto of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) takes a look at Sean Marks‘ reign as Nets general manager and the organization’s transformation in two years under Marks’ watch.