The Dallas Mavericks need another ball-handler and playmaker. They had their sights set to adding Kyle Lowry in free agency, but the five-time All-Star decided to join the Miami Heat. That move left the Mavs to plug holes in their roster. They signed Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown to improve their wing depth, perimeter defense, and floor spacing, but Dallas failed to find another ball-handler.
Goran Dragic has been the rumored target since he was traded to Toronto, but the Raptors are not eager to buy him out of his contract, and the Mavs do not want to trade for his $19.1 million expiring contract. The sides are at an impasse that does not appear to be solved any time soon. Dallas may not be done improving their roster, though.
According to Marc Stein, the Mavericks are rumored to be signing Frank Ntilikina. The 23-year-old played the last four seasons with the New York Knicks after being the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Stein notes that Dallas liked Ntilikina in that draft, but the Knicks took him on place ahead of where Dallas selected. What does the 6’4 guard bring to Dallas in 2021?
Rumors: Dallas Mavericks expected to sign Frank Ntilikina: What does he bring?
Ntilikina is coming off a rough season in New York where he struggled to get playing time. He saw action in just 33 games and averaged 9.8 minutes per contest. In his first three NBA seasons, Ntilikina played a 20-minute per game role as a defender and secondary creator. He struggles on the offensive end of the floor and is not a floor spacer, but his defense rates as above average. Ntilikina finished 91st in the NBA in ESPN's defensive real plus-minus in the 2019-2020 season.
New head coach Jason Kidd has talked about improving the Dallas Mavericks defense since taking over the job. Frank Ntilikina offers him a strong defensive option that still has room to grow on both ends of the floor. Can J-Kidd get the best out of Frankie Smokes? It will be something to watch this season.
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