ORLANDO, Fla. — Frank Ntilikina was on the court running and doing some light shooting before the Knicks’ summer league game Monday, and working out after it.
Ntilikina’s bruised right knee is improving, but there is no guarantee he will play in one of the Knicks’ remaining two summer league games. The first-round pick hasn’t played in their first three — all losses.
“For sure, I want to play,” he said after the Knicks’ 99-87 loss to Oklahoma City. “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.”
Ntilikina suffered the injury the day after the Knicks took him with the No. 8 pick in the draft. After flying back to France to play in his team’s deciding fifth game of the French League finals, he bumped knees on a drive to the basket, and it has been sore since.
Coach Jeff Hornacek said over the weekend he still hasn’t seen Ntilikina play live. He hadn’t worked out for any team and couldn’t go through any practices because of the knee.
Ntilikina plans to go to the gym Tuesday, shoot and see what else he can do. The Knicks’ next game is Wednesday.
“Maybe in two days, I’m going to do a lot,” he said. “Or maybe not. The main thing is keeping me healthy.”
Second-round pick Damyean Dotson, the Knicks’ most impressive player thus far, had 13 points and shot 5-for-10.
Center Kornet signed
The Knicks signed undrafted rookie center Luke Kornet to a two-way contract. Kornet can go up and down between the G-League and the NBA for up to 45 days, and his salary won’t count against the Knicks’ cap.
The former Vanderbilt big man is playing for the Knicks’ summer league team. Through the first three games, he’s shown the ability to knock down three-pointers and has been very active inside. He shot 3-for-6 on three-pointers and had nine points and four blocks against the Thunder and believes he has a shot to make the Knicks’ roster.
“I’m confident in myself,” Kor net 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.”
Kornet has an in with Hornacek. Kornet’s sister and Hornacek’s daughter played basketball with each other.
“We knew him way back then,” Kornet said. “I was pretty young, so I didn’t remember too much. I’m comfortable with him and met him before.”
The Knicks can sign one more player to a two-way deal. It’s likely between Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes. Artis has shot the ball far better in summer league play. He was 5-for-10 and scored 13 points Monday.