No matter how bad things seem, they can always get worse, an old adage the Knicks proved true on Friday by announcing that Frank Ntilikina will sit out the last two weeks of the season with a bum groin.
A re-evaluation of Frank’s faulty groin, which he re-aggravated on March 24 against the Los Angeles Clippers, resulted in the Knicks medical staff recommending that Ntilikina be sidelined for the rest of the year. The decision to shut down the 20-year-old represents a disappointing ending to a frustrating season, especially considering reports that the Knicks intend to shop Ntilikina on draft night.
Frank Ntilikina re-aggravated his strained groin muscle during the March 24 game vs the Clippers. Subsequently, he was re-evaluated by Knicks medical staff. Following the re-evaluation, the team’s medical staff has recommended that he miss the final two weeks of the season.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 29, 2019
Ntilikina, who despite a new coach this season was given the same short leash as last year, concludes his sophomore campaign having played only 43 games, with averages of 21 minutes per contest, 5.9 points (34 percent from the field, 29 percent from three), 2.8 assists, and 2 rebounds. Those stats don’t tell the whole story of Ntilikina’s impact when he’s on the floor, but that’s neither here nor there right now.
What’s here, right now, is that Ntilikina’s second season in the NBA is over. The Frenchman himself was clearly disappointed in that outcome, although in classic Frank fashion he ultimately ended his interview with Knicks beat reporters by trying to be positive and looking towards a brighter tomorrow. Here, hear for yourself:
A disappointed Frank Ntilikina talks about being shut down for the rest of the season due to his nagging groin injury & talks about his mindset heading into a big summer for him. #NewYorkForever #Knicks pic.twitter.com/DjcG29Rawy— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) March 29, 2019
David Fizdale was also disheartened with the Ntilikina news, and talked up the idea of getting Frank healthy and ready to go for next season. When questioned on whether or not Ntilikina is still part of the team’s plans for the future, Fizdale fired back: “He’s still on our roster, isn’t he?”
The answer to Fizdale’s question is yes, Ntilikina is still on the roster. For now. Whether or not he’ll remain there come next season is less clear, however, and reasonable people can have differing opinions on what the team should do with the 6’6” point guard. Basketball watchers seem to be generally divided on Ntilikina; some people think he’s total trash, while others swear his defense alone should earn him minutes, and that if just given ample opportunity, he would improve on the offensive end.
Since the clock has run out on Ntilikina’s season, he’ll no longer have the chance to prove his worth before The Free Agent Extravaganza Spectacular Of Summer 2019. With Ntilikina out, Emmanuel Mudiay, Dennis Smith Jr. and Kadeem Allen should all have plenty of minutes to showcase their skills as the Knicks finish off this tanktastic season.
As for Frank, the only thing he’ll be able to showcase for the rest of the season is his sense of style, from the bench, where he’ll be resting that pesky groin.