Is Frank Ntilikina a BUST?

In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Knicks were desperate for a point guard of the future. I was beyond excited when the Knicks chose Frank Ntilikina, a 6'5" 18-year-old with a 7-foot wingspan. Looking at his highlights prior to the season, I said this:

"I know that Frank Ntilikina is listed as a point guard. I’ve seen highlights of him and I don’t think he has an NBA handle… yet. He’s not even 19-years-old yet, so hopefully the Knicks can keep him long enough to inevitably trade him for Jerian Grant.

All kidding aside I think he is going to be a great defender and I support the pick. He is just not a NBA point guard yet."

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In 20 minutes a game, the precocious neophyte (Clyde term) is averaging 5.6 points and 3 assists, shooting 36% from the field and 31% from three. When compared to Dennis Smith Jr.'s 15 points and 5 assists shooting 39% from the field and 30% from three, some Knicks fans are already writing Ntilikina off as a bust.

I'm not going to waste my time comparing the two players; Dennis Smith Jr. is projected to have a better career at this point, but 1) they're both so young, we have plenty of time to judge and 2) even if Smith Jr. ends up being better, that doesn't make Ntilikina a bust by any means. Let me go over some of the arguments and my retort.

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Frank can't shoot


Yes, his percentages don't jump out at you by any means, but the dude is 19 years old. He seems to have a solid work ethic and wants to get better. Let's see what happens in a couple years before we write him off.

Frank was not drafted because he was supposed to be Steph Curry, he was drafted because of his defense, and that stands.

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Frank is not a Point Guard


Maybe, but at 6'5" with a 7-foot wingspan, he can flourish playing the 2. The NBA is becoming a positionless sport anyway, who cares if he's not going to be a traditional point guard? There are plenty of playmakers in the league.

Long term Frank may develop into a 3-and-D wing, I just hope the Knicks don't trade him to the Spurs beforehand.




I named my blog Swiss Cheese D after Clyde's famous term for the Knicks' crappy defense. Players like Ntilikina are the long term solution for the Knicks historically bad defense.

With his crazy wingspan and feline quickness (another Clyde term), he has the ability to reach in while still staying in front of his man, reminiscent of Kawhi Leonard. Check out how he bothers MVP candidate James Harden:

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Still don't believe me? Check out a more credible source than me: ESPN's Ian Begley.

https://twitter.com/IanBegley/status/975385734415900673

If you're already writing off Ntilikina, because he's not Dennis Smith Jr., then you're not seeing the long term picture here.

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