Class: Played professionally in France’s French Pro A league
Wt: 170 pounds
2016-17 Stats: 5.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists
HOW HE OPERATES
Frank Ntilikina is another in what is a good crop of point guards in the first round of the NBA Draft – and may just be the best international prospect. He did not play a ton of minutes, just 15.7 per game, but showed plenty of ability in a number of areas when he was on the court.
That started with the ability to run a team. Ntilikina was quick to push the ball into the front court, and then got the ball moving. He was so quick in getting off the ball and initiating the offense that his most-used action was spot-up shooting. The ball whipped from player-to-player for Strasbourg, and Ntilikina was the beneficiary many times, camped out in the corner waiting to take the shot. And he was a good spot-up shooter, making 44.4 percent of them. He was good in pick-and-roll as well, showing patience coming off the screen. He was a good decision-maker in screen-roll situations, knowing when to come off and shoot or when to pass. His pocket passing was precise and he had great vision in completing more complex passes as he drove the lane. Just 18 years old, Ntilikina made decisions reminiscent of a much more seasoned player.
And as impressive as he was offensively, Ntilikina might have been more so defensively. He was very active on that end, closing down space and getting into the ball handler on a regular basis. He is very good laterally, and worked hard to stay with ball handlers, which he was able to do more often than not. Ntilikina was a multiple effort defender that flew around in rotations. He projects to be an above average defender, who can also steal the ball. Ntilikina had quick and strong hands, which poked balls away and wrestled them out of the grasp of offensive players. He was also quick in passing lanes, showing good awareness and anticipation in swiping passes to start a fast break.
HIS BEST FIT
Frank Ntilikina is still young, so he’ll need a situation where he can get good minutes backing up an established point guard, who can be a good mentor to him. A season or two of experience should put this promising player in a situation where he’d then be ready for a bigger – and possibly, starting – role.