Knicks rookie PG Frank Ntilikina is impressing his new team even when he isn't on the court.
Ntilikina has only seen one game of NBA action as he continues to nurse a sore right knee. However, that hasn't stopped him from watching the Knicks' on TV. He noticed that the team ran a few plays he didn't know of, so he went to head coach Jeff Hornacek to see what they were.
Hornacek was thoroughly impressed.
"Not many guys will notice that," Hornacek told The Post's Zach Braziller.
Ntilikina may be a good study off the court, but he is itching to get back on it. The eighth overall pick in this year's draft will practice in the next few days, and the hope is that he will be able to step on the floor for the Knicks' final preseason game against the Wizards on Friday.
"We got to be smart about playing at the right time," Ntilikina said. "Maybe Friday is going to be the right time. I know it's important for me to be on the court getting experience, but we have to be smart about it."
Ntilikina's knee injury has been bugging him since the start of NBA summer league, which he sat out of. But when he did get on the court against the Nets in one preseason contest, Ntilikina showed exactly what he can do.
"He's not afraid of the moment, he kind of showed that in [the first preseason game]," Hornacek said. "He just plays. It's nothing on his mind [like], 'Oh, wow, this is the NBA.' He's got a good feel for the game."
Clearly, he has a good feel for the game off the court as he pointed out to Hornacek. Ntilikina doesn't want to be left behind because he can't play, which is why he feels watching film is important in his development.
"Of course, I think it's important for a player when you're not on the court, you have to keep working," Ntilikina said. "For me, watching a lot of tape is important."
The Knicks have not had good fortune on the court this preseason as they have yet to win a game. With many problem like Kristaps Porzingis' injury on Hornacek's mind, he doesn't need his first-rounder to be on the bench as well. Ntilikina is confident he won't be.
"A little injury is not going to affect the way I'm ready or not for the season," Ntilikina said. "I'm really confident about it."
In his preseason game against the Nets, Ntilikina scored five points and dished out three assists in 18 minutes.