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With Frankie Smokes posting the first 20p/10a game of his young career it has the critics stifled, at least for one day.
It is no secret that Frank and fans have seen the ebb's and flo's of the Frenchman's game. No one more notable that Knicks great and current announcer Walt "Clyde" Frazier.
"Every time you think Frank turns the corner, he seems to regress" Frazier's comments on Ntilikina hit far too close to home for those of us hanging on to every moment of success only to be frustrated by what comes next.
Frank has certainly shown flashes of brilliance and the fact that he can actually be a serviceable NBA player. He has also shown that he is more than capable of shitting the bed (pardon my french) on more than a few nights in his young career, so what can he do to to turn that corner that Clyde is so worried about? Let's see:
As is true with any young player the game needs to come to him. He looks like he is developing some chemistry and by the number of pocket passes he slid to Taj Gibson last night, the chemistry he has with his teammates is evident and more than RJ and Mitch which is wildly encouraging.
Being able to see how a play is going to develop or how the defense is matching up against a certain player and where to find a weakness looks like it is making more sense to Ntilikina and he is making far more good decisions than poor soft lazy passes.
With great play comes increased confidence and with more confidence comes being able to do more with less fear. Frank seems to fear shooting the ball. Not last night! I saw a heat check or two to make sure Frank reminded himself he was mortal. Posting the same number of 20/10 games as Victor Oladipo plus having the defensive chops to shut down top flight guards (see Russell Westbrook's final shot in the win against the Rockets).
The minutes! The youth movement! Playing through mistakes! All things everyone on a rookie deal on this team needs. Frank has serious DPOY potential (in a few years) and the Knicks would be insane to not give the kid a new deal when he becomes an RFA. That being said, he like Knox, Mitch, RJ and yes, Allonzo Trier need to finish the season together and the organization needs to take the development over the wins at this point. Hopefully we can expedite some growing pains, get Knox on the right track offensively and get some synergy between the young guns and have some fun doing it.
Final Thoughts: Frank needs to string a couple good games together, get the monkey off his back, and you haters! Look for him to have a blast guarding Trae Young tonight and making a few great defensive plays, and maybe event a deep three!
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