The Dallas Mavericks have been reportedly interested in Frank Ntilikina for some time. News reported today may really show just how interested the Mavs are.
Reports have surfaced that the Dallas Mavericks are all in on 18-year old French prospect Frank Ntilikina and the team has made that clear in more ways than one. Aside from having scouts watching him play, the Mavericks have also had Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban visit to watch the kid play. The most recent report is the most interesting one of all, via Chad Ford of ESPN.
Obviously Dallas wants the kid, and there are plenty of reasons to want him. Aside from his unbelievable size and length (6’5″ with a 7’0″ wingspan), there are also a lot of basketball skills to like from Ntilikina. He is reported to be a decent shooter from outside as well as long enough to get to the hoop, but is more of a distributor with his current team.
Of course, the Mavs will be most interested in Ntilikina’s defensive abilities. At his height and length, there’s not a point guard in the league that he wouldn’t be more effective at guarding than most. His length is impressive, his athleticism is unquestioned…but the kid is only 18 years old with no experience in American basketball. Could be tough to get used to.
The biggest problem with all this though is that the Mavericks are picking 9th in the NBA Draft and the New York Knicks are picking 8th. According to a few different sources, the Knicks are incredibly high on Ntilikina as well and would love to pick him at 8. This is a hiccup for the Mavs because, if they really are this high on Frank, it could mean the team has ideas to trade up in the draft to get an earlier pick.
This should be concerning for Mavs fans because there are 9-10 really solid players in this draft. Mock drafts around the league have seen Dallas getting players like Dennis Smith Jr., Jonathan Isaac, Malik Monk, Lauri Markkanen, and Frank in some cases. If the Mavs really want Ntilikina, they may need to trade up to do so, and if they are willing to trade up, it shouldn’t be for a prospect like Frank.
It remains to be seen what the Mavericks are going to do, but if all reports we have seen are true, it will be tough to see anyone other than Ntilikina being drafted by the Dallas Mavs later this week.