The explosive guard has spent his entire professional career with SIG Strasbourg in France. He won the French Pro A League’s Best Young Player award in 2016 and 2017.
New York’s addition of Ntilikina comes two days after Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported Knicks president Phil Jackson hasn’t ruled out trading Kristaps Porzingis.
Here’s how social media reacted to Ntilikina joining the chaos going on with the Knicks:
“Frank doesn’t have a ceiling,” teammate Romeo Travis, who played high school basketball with LeBron James, told Andrew Keh of the New York Times about Ntilikina. “He has everything: He has height, athleticism, ball-handing; he can shoot. So I’m just trying to give him that push, that confidence that he can be anything he wants to be.”
Ntilikina is 6’5″ and graced with good athleticism and a smart, pass-first mentality. He can pull up off the dribble and stroke out to the three-point line with some level of consistency; his upside is every bit as high as any guard in this draft aside from Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball.
ESPN’s Chad Ford ranked Ntilikina 11th on his big board before the draft.
The Knicks, as they do everywhere, have a need to fill at point guard. Incumbent starter Derrick Rose will hit the open market this summer and proved a poor fit for Phil Jackson’s desired triangle offense. It’s possible Rose winds up re-signing in New York, but it’s clear he’s not the long-term solution. Years of knee injuries have eroded much of his effectiveness, and the Knicks need a young player to help build around Porzingis.
There is also hope Ntilikina can develop into a guard who fits more into the triangle mold.
“And what I love about him—and by the way, I think he’s going to be able to show you—I hate to say this because I’m not a fan of the triangle, I think in the modern NBA the spacing doesn’t work as well as it did in the old days, but he’s a triangle kind of player, simply because he’s not really a 1, and he’s not really a 2. He’s a guard,” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla told reporters on a conference call.
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