In 2017, most folks in New York were extremely high on the prospect of Frank Ntilikina. The French basketball player was never seen as much of an offensive threat, but his inability to find any sort of consistency in his short stint in the NBA has helped limit his playing time with the Knicks. Despite winning just 29 games last season, the Knicks started Ntilikina just nine games. So far to start this season, Frank Ntilikina has again struggled to find consistent playing time. The New York guard was a DNP-Coach’s Decision in New York’s loss on Monday against the Washington Wizards, making those around the team wonder if he has fallen out of the rotation.
With reports of the New York Knicks looking to move on from the Franky Smokes era, let’s take a look at the best fits for Ntilikina.
San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich and the Spurs have shown massive struggles on the defensive end, as they currently rank second to last in the league in defensive efficiency, according to ESPN.com. With plenty of shooting not the team (mostly mid-range), the team desperately lacks a guy with a defensive mentality. Ntilikina would help tremendously in that category.
Has any team been more of a train-wreck this season than the Washington Wizards? John Wall and Bradley Beal have been unable to lead their team to success, causing the front office to ponder the idea of shaking up the roster, even if it means parting with one of their star players. Frank Ntilikina could be a relatively attainable piece to help ease some worries in DC. He would give the Wizards another ball-handler off the bench and help their defensive woes.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are trying to prove to Anthony Davis that they are capable of contending in the jam-packed Western Conference. Currently, they are positioned outside of the playoff race and much of that is due to their defense. The Pelicans have proven that they can score with the best, but can they stop their opponents from scoring more? Outside of their need for defense, New Orleans could also use another person to handle the ball off the bench. Frank Ntilikina could give them that.
Since this past Summer, the Houston Rockets have missed recently-departed Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. The Rockets have been unable to replace their defensive abilities. Clint Capela does everything he can in the paint, but guys like James Harden and former-Rocket Carmelo Anthony have never been considered serviceable defenders. With recent reports of the Phoenix Suns potentially looking to deal Ariza after December 15, many point to Houston as an obvious choice to acquire the former Rocket. If trade talks do not go according to plan for Daryl Morey and company, look for the Rockets to try and pick up defensive-minded players. Frank Ntilikina could be high on that list.