Knicks coach David Fizdale on Friday night was pleased with what he saw from Frank Ntilikina, who earned his first start at point guard at an opportune time against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
"He made a show," Fizdale said, per Newsday, after his team's 128-100 loss on Friday. "He picked his spots. He didn't pass up much. I really thought he got after it defensively. He competed hard. The guy he is competing against is one of those special talents, once in a lifetime talent. They definitely have two of them and those other guys aren't too shabby after them. I thought he really did a solid job against Steph."
Despite the loss, Ntilikina tied his career high with 17 points as part of the Knicks' new-look starting lineup. The 20-year-old acknowledged that he is feeling more comfortable this season after he was sidelined by injuries during key stretches leading up to his rookie season.
"I think I did a lot of work this summer that allowed me to be more comfortable on the court," he explained. "So right now, I had a good game. So I know my goal is to be consistent wherever I'm at to be efficient and to give more options to the team."
When asked about the lineup change, Ntilikina said he is following the direction of coach Fizdale.
"Whatever coach tells me, where he wants me, let's do it, let's go," he said. "Yeah, that was my mindset. He just asked me, just changed the lineup with me at the point so I was like, okay, let's go. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. We all know it's going to change. We've still got to find the best rotation for our group. I'm always going to be ready wherever he wants me."
Ntilikina averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 assists per game in 78 games as a rookie last season. Through six games this season, he is averaging 9.3 points and three assists.