NEW ORLEANS – Jeff Hornacek just isn’t but prepared to begin Frank Ntilikina. However that point is coming.
With the Knicks struggling in all aspects throughout their four-game dropping streak earlier than Saturday, the coach stated he’s growing Ntilikina’s minutes whereas “taking a look at” shifting him into the beginning lineup.
“However for now, no,” Hornacek stated, including that there is no such thing as a timeline for a change. “We’ll simply preserve taking a look at it and attempt to see.”
Ntilikina is coming off certainly one of his finest performances within the NBA, notching a career-high 11 assists Thursday within the 119-107 loss to the Spurs. Though he’s the backup behind Jarrett Jack, Ntilikina is usually closing video games and was averaging extra minutes within the fourth quarter (7.eight) than another interval.
Nonetheless, his offensive deficiencies have been clear for a participant capturing simply 36 p.c earlier than Saturday with a three.5/1.eight assist-to-turnover ratio. Requested by the Day by day Information about Ntilikina’s studying curve, an NBA government questioned whether or not the 19-year-old just isn’t higher suited as an off-guard working with out the ball.
In New Orleans, Ntilikina was following up the participant taken one spot behind him within the draft – Dallas level guard Dennis Smith Jr. – who notched a triple-double Friday in a victory over the Pelicans.
Regardless of New York’s offensive woes and total struggles on the street, Hornacek stated he wasn’t going to make any adjustments to the lineup – level guard included. At 17-18 earlier than Saturday, he stated that one other loss wouldn’t be devastating and implied the rebuild is forward of schedule.
“We’re not attempting to take a look at the massive scheme of issues. We’re simply attempting to get higher,” he stated. “We’ve gotten off to a begin that 35 video games in and to be round .500 – not lots of people would have thought that particularly with how a lot (Tim Hardaway Jr.) has been out. We’ve hit a stretch of street video games that we actually obtained to get centered in and do lots of issues proper. It will be a pleasant for us to finish the yr with and go into subsequent yr. It’s not a sport the place if we don’t win it’s the tip of the world.”
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Nonetheless upset over the shortage of calls on his jumpers, Kristaps Porzingis defined three changes to assist both get a whistle or keep away from contact.
1) Make the transfer faster earlier than the defender has time to get shut
2) Soar greater so the defender’s outstretched arm doesn’t clip the elbow
three) Promote the foul
“Simply little changes,” Porzingis stated. “However I’m not altering my sport.”
Two days earlier following a loss in San Antonio, Porzingis lobbied for extra calls as a result of he’d been frequently hit on the arm throughout his launch and believes it causes the photographs to go astray. Porzingis stated that disciplined is required to keep away from a technical foul and let the circumstances get to his head.
He was getting ready to touchdown a technical Thursday for protested to the referee.
“The one factor is I’m getting upset and I don’t wish to be the man who’s yelling on the refs,” Porzingis stated. “However particularly in these video games that we wish to win and we have to win so unhealthy when all these little particulars matter and also you felt that would’ve been a name and that impacts the sport a lot that my feelings become involved. I all the time attempt to keep calm throughout the sport however it’s onerous. It’s onerous since you wish to do good to your workforce clearly. So I’m
attempting not to consider it an excessive amount of whereas I’m taking part in however throughout the sport with all of the feelings and the adrenaline going it could get to your self a little bit bit.”
Hornacek defined why the referees are usually not giving Porzingis the decision.
“I do assume he’s getting hit on the elbow. However the referees are telling me the defenders are placing their fingers straight up,” the coach stated. “I feel he’s going to must raise it up a little bit bit extra. It’s his kind, the best way he shoots. He’s coming ahead. The referees are telling me the defenders are usually not reaching over, they’re simply placing their fingers straight up. He’ll make some changes.”