While the Knicks were losing to the Celtics on Saturday night, fans at The Garden were chanting "WE WANT FRANK!" as a plead for Frank Ntilikina to get more minutes in head coach David Fizdale's lineup.
The main reason that chant occurred in the first place was due to Dennis Smith Jr.'s early struggles with the Knicks this season. Smith is 1-for-11 from the field with three total points over 26 total minutes of play this year.
Well, Jazz star PG Donovan Mitchell doesn't want to hear it.
Mitchell took to Twitter to defend Smith, the player that was taken three picks before him in the 2017 NBA Draft, saying it's way too early in the season to start chanting for a player to get off the court.
Smith was playing 28.6 minutes as the starting point guard for the Knicks last season, but with Elfrid Payton and even Allonzo Trier playing the position along with Ntilikina, he's getting squeezed for playing time. And it hasn't been the best start to the year to make matters worse.
But those 26 minutes is a lot more than Ntilikina, who has only seen three minutes over two games this season. Fizdale has kept the 2017 first-round pick on the bench despite the Knicks picking up his club option for next season.
This comes after Ntilikina impressed this summer while playing with the French national team in the FIBA World Cup. He looked confident on both sides of the ball, and the Knicks were hoping it would translate to this season, his third in New York. However, Fizdale hasn't had him in enough to test that theory.
It's only been three games, as Mitchell points out, but the Knicks are already seeing the hardship of spreading out minutes while trying to remain competitive in each contest. Smith and Ntilikina get the brunt of it with the talent at point guard, but more chants like this will likely continue from Knicks fans if Smith can't get his offensive game going soon.