Usually when young prospects come in from Europe, the question is: Are their dominant stats a good indication of talent? This is usually because prior European players are usually big men two to four inches taller than their competition in the European leagues. The case with Frank Ntilikina is flipped, for he got 19 minutes a game last season in the French league, as he struggled to get playing time with talented guards that accompanied him in Europe.
His stats are also not too impressive, his respective points, assists, rebounds, steals blocks, went to the tune of 5.3, 1.5, 2.3, 0.7, 0.2. He also shot 48% on field goals and 39% on 3 pointers. These decent percentages are hard to verify given he only shot the ball 4.6 times a game. It sounds like we are talking about a mid 2nd round pick here. But Ntilikina has a few things that turn heads.
Ntilikina has incredible ball handling abilities, especially with a 6’5″ frame rounded out with an incredible 7’1″ wingspan, oh, and he is not even 19 years old yet. Also, his frame has filled in fantastically, a rarity among young guards. His frame somewhat resembles fellow prospect, Justin Jackson, who projects as a scoring SF or stretch 4 in some packages.
His glaring potential finally showed when he led the French team in the 2016 FIBA 18U team while starting and scoring 23 points a game with 7 assists and 3 steals. This came as little surprise to local scouts, who had seen his potential all along. He has made a name for himself in his lockdown defensive game and in his great court vision while executing pick and rolls.
Besides his not-too-notable regular season stats, his biggest weaknesses are that he lacks supreme quickness and acceleration. He also does not explode to the rim to finish and relies on physical tools to get him where he wants. That has proved to be a fairly non-reliable strategy in the pros. He also does not create a shot well, has to use screens and stunts instead of own ball handling abilities, which need to be improved.
Overall, Ntilikina projects to be a late lottery pick to a team that has time to develop a guard. These teams include the Knicks at pick 8, the Mavericks at pick 9, the Hornets at pick 11, the Pistons at pick 12, and the Heat at pick 14