Updated: Feb 29
It should be of no surprise to find out that Frank Ntilikina is the focus of trade talks. Between the injury he suffered and missed the time at the end of the year, the in and out of the rotation dance he had with Coach Fiz all season and his limited offensive game make him a prime target along with his upsides of youth and above average defense (especially that time he locked down James Harden).
Now, I like Frank and I was really hoping that he would turn a corner offensively and become a bit more aggressive and consistent on that side of the ball. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. Maybe a new environment helps him harness a little more of an offensive game, but, who knows.
There are few solid landing spots that could be mutually beneficial the first is the Boston Celtics and the #22 pick this year.
Frank backing up Terry Rozier in Boston makes sense. They are a defensively strong team with plenty of offensive firepower. Established young scorers Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward benefit from the drive and kick mentality that Ntilikina has and him not being a score-first guard will sit well with everyone that has a problem with Kyrie throwing up 20-25 ill-advised shots a game. Frank can quietly play his game while everyone else shoulders the offensive load while playing winning basketball.
Are there other options? Sure... San Antonio is the first team that comes to mind, a winning organization with some defensive help for Demar Derozan and Patty Mills. Giving up the #29 pick they got from Toronto would not be a pick that would cripple one of the most consistent franchises in professional sports. Phoenix and the #32 pick (second round) would be a nice fit, letting Devin Booker play defense on the lesser of the guards they face on a nightly basis so he can focus on scoring. Hell, the Nets might even workout. They have two picks close by at the end of the first (27) and beginning of the second (31) and could use a defensive minded guard to allow D'Angelo Russell to focus more on his offensive game and be able to run a small ball pick and roll game with Frank to open up some space.
Finally, and most unlikely- the Golden State Warriors with the #28 pick. There's nothing like removing Steph Curry and his "I can score on anyone from anywhere" mindset and inserting a backup like Frank Ntilikina with his "Why do I need to put this ball in the hoop?" style of play. This one doesn't make any sense but sometimes the most unlikely pairings are the ones that end up happening, so, enjoy Golden State, Frank.
I hate to see yet another lottery pick the Knicks make pack their bags and move out of town. Especially a kid like Frank. You want him to do well, grow his game and make an impact given how high he was drafted but sometimes, and more often than not for the Knicks, it doesn't work out quite that way.
Draft day is quickly approaching which means speculations around the league will be high. Buckle up!