Building up self-esteem is part and parcel of mentoring young NBA players.
And, well, Ramon Sessions is doing one helluva job boosting the ego of New York Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina.
Although training camp is barely underway, and although Ntilikina is just 19 years old, and although Sessions hasn’t really spent that much time around him just yet, the veteran floor general already sees hints of Kyrie Irving in his teenage teammate.
From the New York Post‘s Marc Berman:
“It’s funny,’’ Sessions said in his first remarks since signing with the Knicks. “It’s one of those things. I played with Johnny when he was younger. Kyrie when he was young. He’s got a lot of Kyrie tendencies. Not the most athletic guy but can handle the ball in tight spots. It’s still early on, but he definitely gives me that Kyrie feel when Kyrie was a rookie. “
This comparison isn’t one that’s tossed around a lot—as in, at all. Ntilikina is heralded more for his length and defense. The extent of his offensive rap sheet includes some quality off-ball work and a clear path toward developing into an NBA playmaker. For Sessions to suggest he bears even a slight resemblance to Irving, Ntilikina must also have some combination of handles, raw scoring acumen and an overall killer instinct—in which case the Knicks should be thrilled.
Which isn’t to say Sessions’ comments are entirely accurate. Nor is it to say Ntilikina should enter his rookie campaign saddled with the expectations of an established star. But, regardless of the bias here, it’s refreshing to hear something good about a Knicks player not named Kristaps Porzingis.