PHILADELPHIA — When Frank Ntilikina returned to the rotation after a three-game stay on the bench he responded with his best offensive performance of his career. But if the Knicks thought that the time spent on the sideline would boost his belief in himself, it didn’t quite hold up.
Ntilikina scored 13.9 points per game after his first three games back, shooting 16-for-30 from the floor in that span. But he shot just 1-for-6 Wednesday and is 6-for-25 over his last four games.
“He still resorts back but that’s part of his process,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “It’s just like any habit is. You’ve just got to stay with it where you build a habit of playing free without worrying about what people say, about what the coach is thinking, what anybody is thinking. It’s just because he’s so unselfish, he’s concerned about that stuff. But it’s the further that I can get him away to where he’s not really harboring those thoughts, I think the better off he’s going to be.
"You can see it. When you’re around him long enough, you can tell when he’s like, ‘Screw it. I’m just letting it all hang out and I’m just going to play.’ And you can see when he’s thinking about, ‘If I miss this or if I screw this up, what’s going to happen? What’s the consequence?’ You can see his brain going through that process. How far can I move him away from that is what I’m trying to get him to where he’s constantly in a clear state of mind.”
New home for Baker
Ron Baker, who was waived by the Knicks last week to make room for Allonzo Trier to be converted from a two-way contract to a full NBA deal, is signing with the Washington Wizards according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Luke Kornet took a hit to the nose, colliding with Joel Embiid’s head just one minute into his appearance Wednesday. X-rays were negative.