Frank Ntilikina may have to start making himself a little more comfortable on that Knicks bench.
Ntilikina, who went into the weekend having started 23 of the Knicks’ previous 24 games at point guard, ceded his spot to Elfrid Payton for the second game in a row Monday. And though interim coach Mike Miller won’t outright say that Payton is his new point guard, it’s clear that Payton has earned his stamp of approval.
“We were just looking at what we needed game by game,” said Miller, who’s been hesitant to change things up all that much since replacing David Fizdale. “We wanted to give [Payton] a start and see how things look that way.”
Miller previously had said he likes the way Payton shares the ball and triggers the offense. “He’s helping other people,” he told reporters after Saturday’s loss to the Bucks, Payton’s other previous start.
Payton had five points, 12 assists and two turnovers in 30 minutes in the Knicks’ 121-115 loss to the Wizards on Monday night. Ntilikina had five points and three assists in 11 minutes.
Knox’s ‘D’ improving
Miller said he’s seen definitive improvement in Kevin Knox’s defense — something, he said, that will earn the 2018 lottery pick more playing time. Knox had two steals and three blocks against the Bucks on Saturday. He had eight points in 27 minutes Monday.
After parting ways with the Knicks earlier this month, Fizdale will rejoin ESPN as an NBA analyst, according to a report on SNY, which cited sources. Fizdale worked for the network before becoming the Knicks’ coach last season . . . Taj Gibson (illness) and Marcus Morris (Achilles) did not play against the Wizards on Monday night.