As Frank Ntilikina continues to improve in his rookie season, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is looking to get him some more minutes on the court.
Now, that doesn't mean Ntilikina is ready to start for the Knicks. Hornacek will stick with Jarrett Jack as the starting point guard, but he will look at a potential start for the 19-year-old in the future.
"Not yet," Hornacek told Newsday's Al Iannazzone. "That's something we'll continue to look at it, but for now, no."
In the Knicks' comeback victory on the road against the Pelicans Saturday night, Ntilikina notched eight points, four rebounds, and four assists. However, one of his best performances came in last Thursday's loss to the Spurs where he tallied 11 assists in just over 31 minutes played, which are both career highs.
"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.
"[In] San Antonio, he was playing a great game. He missed a couple shots late, but other than that, he got us into our offense, he got things going defensively."
Hornacek would also like to keep Lance Thomas on the floor, as his defense is a necessity to keep the Knicks balanced on both ends of the floor. Michael Beasley, who was starting in place of Kristaps Porzingis when he was injured, has continued showing his offensive prowess with 23 points and 12 rebounds against San Antonio. However, Hornacek believes Thomas' stingy defense is something his team should have on the floor, especially when the Knicks need a big stop.
"Lance has done a great job on some of these guys we need to stop," Hornacek said. "Our focus all year has been on the defensive side. We need to score some more points . . . Lance plays his role exactly how we want it."
As for Ntilikina, he will look to continue his improvement in 2018 after a solid 2017 portion of the season. He is currently averaging six points, 3.5 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game this season.