ORLANDO – For an 18-year-old point guard, the ideal situation is to grow behind a veteran point guard, or allow time to develop physically instead of getting thrown too quickly into the NBA fire.
Except right now for the Knicks, it’s still unclear who will be that point guard ahead of Frank Ntilikina.
Free agents – and point guards, in particular – were gobbled up in the first three days of free agency with the Knicks making one restrained move: re-signing Ron Baker.
As reports surfaced Monday that the Lakers were gaining ground on signing George Hill, the most noteworthy point guard still unattached to a team was Derrick Rose (although he met with the Bucks on Monday, according to ESPN). As the Daily News reported, GM Steve Mills is opposed to re-signing Rose and a reunion appears to be a longshot. But Ntilikina gave a nice endorsement on Monday.
“He’s the youngest MVP of the NBA history, I can learn from him,” Ntilikina said. “It would be good. He’s done a lot of things in his career. For sure it would be good. I’m not controlling what management is doing. I trust the management and the coaching staff to do what’s best for the team.”
Sources who’ve spoken to the Knicks about their plans insist they’re going young and cheap on short contracts, resisting the urge for Band Aid fixes. In other words, they’re settling in for a long rebuild. Some of the outlook is tied to Ntilikina, the eighth-overall pick who sat out his third straight Summer League game Monday because of a knee bruise.
Ntilikina is unsure if he’ll play in the final two games Wednesday and Thursday.
“For sure, I want to play,” Ntilikina said. “That’s why I’m here: play and play a lot. Improve. To me, being on the sides is a pain, but I had a long season with my team and we talk a lot with the coaching staff and the trainers. The main thing is to not let this injury be worse. Definitely I’m sad about it, but I have to be careful.”
SUMMER LEAGUE SIGNINGS
The Knicks officially locked up one of their most impressive prospects in Summer League, inking big man Luke Kornet to a two-way deal, the team announced.
Kornet, 21, went undrafted last month out of Vanderbilt, but had worked out with the Knicks and was scooped up for the Summer League, where he demonstrated strong defense in the post and a steady 3-point shot.
Kornet is the NCAA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers by a player over 7-feet tall. Teams are permitted a pair of two-way players on its roster. The Knicks have only used the one on Kornet, who is gunning for an NBA roster spot out of training camp.
“I’m confident in myself,” Kornet said. “I think I have a lot to show and to add to a team. That’s very much on my mind, to show that I’m worth a top-15 roster spot. That’s my goal still, even though I signed the two-way, to show that I can contribute to an NBA team.”
Another Summer League prospect Nigel Hayes reportedly agreed to a partially-guaranteed deal after going undrafted. Second-round pick Damyean Dotson has impressed and will likely get a multi-year deal from the Knicks.