Knicks' Frank Ntilikina: Playing in MSG 'Really Special' Because of Fans' Love

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC -¬ MARCH 10: Frank Ntilikina #11 of the New York Knicks shoots free throws on March 10, 2020 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

New York Knicks fans may have largely turned against team governor James Dolan, but point guard Frank Ntilikina savors every opportunity to step onto the court at Madison Square Garden.

"Knicks fans, they love the team," Ntilikina said, per the New York Post's Marc Berman. "They really want the team to be successful. They really have that drive with basketball. Also that's what makes it really special to be able to play at the Garden."

Knicks fans have made their thoughts toward Dolan clear. Try as he might, Dolan can't stop everybody from chanting "sell the team."

That frustration is occasionally directed at the players as well, but the exasperation generally comes with an acknowledgement the front office assembled a flawed roster that was set up to fail.

Ntilikina is a perfect example of the problem.

The Knicks selected the 21-year-old eighth overall in 2017 because of his fit in the triangle offense. Less than a week after the draft, the triangle offense was cast aside with the departure of team president Phil Jackson.

Former head coach David Fizdale then took a tough-love approach with Ntilikina, while New York added Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton to compete for minutes at point guard.

Through it all, Ntilikina has built a cult following in the Big Apple.

No matter how bad the Knicks are, fan apathy has never been an issue for the franchise.

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