A day after getting bashed (along with Kevin Knox) by unnamed Knicks officials, Frank Ntilikina was benched during Saturday night's win against the Bucks at Madison Square Garden.
But Ntilikina says he's not frustrated by being nailed to the bench.
"It's not frustration," Ntilikina said after the game, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post. "I think it's motivation because as a competitor you want to be out there on the court to help your team. My job and my mindset is to keep working harder to be able to get back on the court.
"Of course as players everybody wants to play. … I'm just going to stay positive for [my teammates]. All I want is our team to be successful."
Ntilikina sitting on Saturday night was a bit perplexing since the Knicks lost Trey Burke for the game in the first quarter.
Despite benching Ntilikina, head coach David Fizdale says he isn't in the "dungeon" and that he would turn to Ntilikina again "in no time."
"Coach's decision, but as you could see with these guys, none of them are ever in the dungeon," Fizdale said after the game. "[Ntilikina] was the example of my postgame speech because if you watched our bench tonight, he was the most energetic, the first one up, the first one rooting guys on, the one making sure people knew what they were supposed to do coming out of timeouts."
Ntilikina has struggled badly this season, and his offensive output has been abysmal at times.
The 20-year-old is averaging 5.9 points in 23 games (identical to what he averaged during his rookie season in 2017-18) and 2.7 assists (down from the 3.2 he averaged in 17-18).
Ntilikina has also been the subject of trade rumors, with the Grizzlies and Suns reportedly interested.