While France did not win the 2019 FIBA World Cup, they still had a productive trip to China this summer. The French came in third place, marking the second World Cup in a row in which they managed to take home a bronze medal. The usual suspects came up big, but perhaps the team’s biggest surprise was the performance of Frank Ntilikina, who was a steady hand in the backcourt on both ends of the floor.
No one has ever questioned Ntilikina’s talent, but for one reason or another, he just hasn’t fit in during his two years as a member of the New York Knicks. High points in which he shows the potential to be a very solid two-way guard are followed up by low points that lead to lengthy benchings or, during his second year, injuries that kept him sidelined.
In the eyes of one of his fellow countrymen, though, the biggest thing keeping Ntilikina from succeeding might be where he’s plying his trade. Evan Fournier, France’s leading scorer at the World Cup, took to Twitter and posited that Ntilikina would thrive if he received a “real opportunity.”
The guy only needs a real opportunity https://t.co/kiBS2HWUxB
— Evan Fournier (@EvanFourmizz) September 16, 2019
Rumors have indicated for some time that the Knicks have tried to honor Never Google’s request, as Ntilikina has been floated as potential trade bait. But now that he is healthy, Ntilikina told Marc Stein of the New York Times that believes he will be a productive member of the Knicks.
Ntilikina says "I'm healthy again" and that "I just have that feeling back" after getting through eight games "in a very short period." As for the Knicks, Frankie says the "whole group is very hungry for next season."
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 15, 2019
It’s a big year for Ntilikina. The Knicks have to decide by Oct. 31 whether or not to pick up the final year on his rookie deal, and regardless of their decision, the hope is the 21 year old can be more consistent in his third year in the league.