Mavericks sign Frank Ntilikina

The Dallas Mavericks have signed free agent guard Frank Ntilikina.

Ntilikina (6-5, 200) was originally the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. After four seasons with the Knicks, he holds career averages of 5.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 19.5 minutes in 211 games (55 starts).

Per the Dallas Morning News, “on the first day of free agency, the Mavs struck quick, re-signing Tim Hardaway Jr. and Boban Marjanovic while also agreeing to deals with Sterling Brown and Reggie Bullock, another former Knicks guard.”

Born in Ixelles, Belgium, Ntilikina moved to France at the age of 3 years old. Prior to being drafted by New York, he began his professional career in 2015 with SIG Strasbourg of the French Pro A League. Ntilikina was named the league’s Best Young Player in both seasons he competed for Strasbourg.

Ntilikina (nee-lee-KEE-nah) recently competed with the French national team at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo where he brought home a silver medal.

The addition now brings the Mavericks training camp roster to 20 players.

No flight back to France for Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina

Here’s the New York Post reporting on a Knicks guard who might like to return home to France during the coronavirus pandeic but can’t do that right now:

The coronavirus pandemic shutdown hasn’t stopped Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina from attempting to stay in shape, but it required some purchases.

Ntilikina, unable to fly back to his home country of France under the NBA’s guidelines banning international travel, said some players have done group workouts via video apps. That is catching on around the NBA as gyms are shuttered and players are having difficulty getting up shots.

“It was tough the first days so I decided to get some weights,’’ Ntilikina said as he took fan questions on the Knicks website Tuesday night. “Get bands, get a bench, jump rope. All the tools you can really have and help you inside the house to stay in shape. We have a program with our teammates. We stay connected. We’re all trying to stay ready.’’

Ntilikina flew back to Dallas, where his new agent Bouna Ndiaye stays. He spent a lot of last summer in Dallas.

Ntilikina started 26 of the 56 games played in 2019-20, averaging 6.3 points and 3.0 assists per game. His shooting remains an issue: 39.3% FG and 32.1% from three-point range.

The NBA season is currently on hold due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Frank Ntilikina still developing his offensive game

 

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The 7-16 Knicks are 30th in the league in field goal percentage. Considering that there are 30 teams in the league, there’s room for improvement there. They are 25th in three-point shooting percentage, so that’s slightly better. But shooting is an issue. While it’s a team thing, young guard Frank Ntilikina is scoring 5.9 points per game on 33.3% FG and 26% from three-land. For more on him, here’s New York Newsday:

A scoreless night in a one-sided loss on 0-for-5 shooting, which came a night after another scoreless night in Detroit, raised questions again about the progress and development of the second-year guard, a former lottery pick and now a mystery in the Knicks’ rebuilding plans.

A lost rookie season in which he missed summer league, much of preseason and then found himself buried by since-fired coach Jeff Hornacek led to this sophomore season. While new head coach David Fizdale arrived with a mandate to focus on player development, Ntilikina remains a project without a clear direction.

Ntilikina’s defensive skills are nice. His shot and offense are a work in construction.

Knicks exercise contract option on Frank Ntilikina

The New York Knicks have exercised their third-year contract option on guard Frank Ntilikina.

So far in his young NBA career, the 6-foot-6, 200-pound Ntilikina has shown some nice defensive skills, but offensively and especially as a point guard is still learning the ropes. Which is par for the course. His NBA career is just getting started. He’s a Knick to watch in 2018-19.

Ntilikina as a rookie last season averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds over 78 games (nine starts). The 20-year-old became the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a game on Oct. 19, 2017 and represented the franchise in the 2018 Rising Stars Challenge in Los Angeles, CA. The native of Strasbourg, France, was originally selected by New York with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

As for his recent play in preseason, here’s the New York Post: “Ntilikina’s gains in weight and height are manifesting themselves on the court. The extra bulk — about 10 pounds — has him stronger to the rack and sturdier in guarding power forwards on switches. Ntilikina’s progress in the preseason was overshadowed by a point-guard race that didn’t do the Frenchman justice. (Fizdale started four different players at the position in five games).”

Frank Ntilikina arrives in USA for draft

Here’s the NY Post reporting on an intriguing international prospect who is expected to be selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, which takes place Thursday night:

French point guard Frank Ntilikina, after arriving at Liberty International Airport in Newark on Tuesday for Thursday’s NBA draft, denied a report his preference is to be drafted by the Mavericks over the Knicks.

Ntilikina, 18, reiterated the Knicks are a strong option for him because he fits well into triangle principles. The Mavericks have hired his Strasbourg coach, Vince Collett, for Dallas’ summer-league team. If the Knicks pass on Ntilikina at No. 8, the Mavericks, whose owner, Mark Cuban, flew to Venice recently to meet Ntilikina, are expected to nab him at No. 9.

“I have no preference like that,’’ Ntilikina told The Post. “All I need is to be in a really good project for me. I know it will all then depend on me. The NBA draft is just a step to the real goal — to make a big career in the NBA. I just want to be in a good project and atmosphere.’’