New York Post
5 questions for... Alan Hahn
MSG Network analyst Alan Hahn talks Frank Ntilikina’s potential and the good quiet around the Knicks right now with The Post’s Justin Terranova.
Q: What has been your early impression of Ntilikina?
A: Defense really stood out more than anything. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan for a guy who is 6-5, 6-6. He’s smooth and it’s subtle. Some people like to see athleticism right away: incredible jumping ability or the speed. He doesn’t seem to have that. What he has is a very subtle calm and poise. It’s just the little things that he can do. If you know basketball you can pick them up right away. That’s what impressed me. There’s a lot to work with here.
Q: How would you compare his adjustment to Porzingis’?
A: When Porzingis came in, he was just a sensation. You could just tell there was something different about this guy. I can see Ntilikina having a similar impact but on the defensive side of the ball. I don’t think he’s going to be an offensive dynamo right away, aside from being a really nice passer. If he can get to a point where (coach Jeff ) Hornacek in the back of his mind says, “I need him on the floor for his defense,” then that will show you how far he’s come.
Q: Do you expect Porzingis to take on a leadership role with Ntilikina?
A: Yes and he told me that’s what he plans on doing. But it’s not going to be just him. Ntilikina came out of a game at one point and Tim Hardaway Jr. had an open seat and he’s pointing on the seat to say, “Come sit next to me.” Then Ramon Sessions two seats up is doing the same thing. You can just see already the older players want to work with him. There’s something about Ntilikina’s personality that is appealing to the older players. Q: Where does Ntilikina most have to improve? A: The physicality of the game especially when you get into the grind of the season, where his body will wear down. He’ll just have to learn how to deal with that. And the shooting. They are going to make him shoot, like they did with John Wall and a lot of guards who came into the league and didn’t have a reputation as a great shooter. Q: What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed in the absence of Phil Jackson? A: It’s quiet. And it isn’t the quiet where you feel like it is a morgue. It wasn’t a pall-overthe-franchise quiet. It was a calm. I remember saying to one of the players it’d be nice if it could stay that way for a bit because they needed it. I give (GM) Scott Perry a lot of credit for that. He’s a little more calm, a little more dignified.