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After the New York Knicks trashed the Sacramento Kings last night, several sports news outlets reported a comments made by LeBron James about Dennis Smith Jr. and the Knicks.
To put LeBron’s statement into context, his struggling Cleveland Cavaliers (6-7 record) just defeated the sorry Dallas Mavericks (2-11 record), and LeBron doesn’t seem to be too fond of the Knicks organization since the dreadful days of Phil Jackson and his “posse” comments.
Now, it’s nice to praise Dennis Smith Jr. because he is one of the better rookies in the league so far, but to bring the Knicks’ name into his statement, and to throw shade at Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina, was flat out disrespectful. Here is what LeBron had to say:
“The Knicks passed on a really good one, and Dallas got the diamond in the rough…He should be a Knick. That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. Dallas is definitely, I know they’re excited that he didn’t go there.”
Whether Smith Jr. is truly a “diamond in the rough” or not, Ntilikina fits in perfectly with what the Knicks are trying to do. Coach Jeff Hornacek is trying to develop a defense first mentality with the Knicks, and Ntilikina is currently second amongst rookies in steals per game (1.56) while providing solid lock down defense on opposing point guards. Also, Ntilikina is fourth amongst rookies in assists per game (5.0). While Ntilikina may not have the explosiveness on offense like Smith Jr., he still contributes to the Knicks in more ways than one.
LeBron’s latest statement should add more fuel to the fire as his Cavaliers will travel to the Garden to take on the New York Knicks on Monday, and hopefully, Ntilikina shows LeBron the value he brings to the Knicks by locking him and his teammates up on defense.
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