Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Frank Ntilikina – PG – International – France
Weight: 170 lbs
Age: 19 years old
Projected: 11 (DraftExpress) 9 (CPP Big Board) 8 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: Frank Ntilikina (Nili-kina) is the best international prospect in this year’s NBA Draft class. Standing at 6’5”. Ntilikina has a nice frame and size to be a NBA point guard. The French prospect is not only a facilitator on the floor, but can score in bunches as well. Back in December, in the FIBA U18 European Championships, Ntilikina scored 31 points against Lithuania in limited minutes on the floor. In 40 games this past season, Frank Ntilikina’s per 40 numbers are what have him ranked very high among other NBA Draft talent. He averaged 11.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, and shot 40.3% from 3-pt range in about 19 minutes a game. His Per 40 numbers during Champions League were also very impressive and even better than his regular season numbers, proving to scouts that he loves playing on the big stage. With his very long arms and solid frame, Frank Ntilikina has all the tools to be a quick and versatile young guard in the NBA.
Strengths: Physically, Ntilikina is ready to be an impactful young point guard in the NBA. His frame continues to widen and has exceptional length that lots of teams are talking about. In France, Ntilikina recorded an unofficial 7’0” wingspan and it is reported that he may still grow from 6’5”. With shoes on, Ntilikina stands about 6’6” and also has very long legs, making him dangerous in the open floor. There is a lot of untapped athletic potential to be seen with Frank Ntilikina operating in the open floor and driving past defenders. Offensively, the young French point guard loves attacking the rim and can score from lots of different angles. At U18 Euros, Ntilikina scored 1.0 points per possession in transition, one of the highest numbers at the tournament. Against better defensively skilled NBA players, Frank Ntilikina will have to use this “untapped athletic ability” that he possesses to blow past opponents in the half-court. Along with his body control when driving to the basket, Frank Ntilikina posses a scorers mentality with the ball in his hands. He almost plays like a small foward/floor general in today’s NBA, stuck in a point guard’s body on the floor. On the defensive side of the ball, he is a quick thinker with a lot of upside. Being long, having quick feet, and having sharp instincts are all tools to make him a dangerous guard to go one-on-one against. As a result of his large frame, he can defend either guard spot and exhibits active hands. Ntilikina is quick to closeout and has no visible problems fighting over ball screens. Being a shot-blocking threat on the perimeter as a guard and being able to swipe the ball away from opponents, on top of his skills offensively, has made Ntilikina a Top 10 prospect in this year’s draft.
Weaknesses: In the past, Ntilikina has struggled at times attacking the basket off the dribble from a stand-still motion. He has not been classified as a high volume/take-over one-on-one player. Over the past few months, Frank Ntilikina has been showing he can be a take-over scorer on more than one occasion. It is still to be determined if he can have success as a pure one-on-one scorer in the league. Building off of not being a high volume scorer, Ntilikina is more pure and polished than powerful and explosive. Again, this is something he has worked on the past few months and has showed constant improvements, but time will tell whether he can be successful as both a smooth and explosive player in the league, a trait very few players contain. If an NBA team’s draft need is a an elite-level shooter and shot-creator, Frank Ntilikina may not be the guy they are looking for. He is a more passive player that is very unselfish with the basketball. Being a second option in an offense is where he excels and can make plays/open up space for the superstar that is already on the team. Other than his potential in the NBA, there are no visible weaknesses present when evaluating Frank Ntilikina. He is a very skilled point guard with a tremendous upside. He should not have to wait long to hear his name called on draft night!
Comparison: A mix between Malcolm Brogdon and Dante Exum
Malcolm Brogdon (6’6”, 223 lbs) was a tremendous rookie this past season for the Bucks, shooting 46.9% from the field and 41.5% from three point land. Ntilikina will not put up as many shots from beyond the arc like Brogdon, but will play similar and be aggressive with his frame. Brogdon and Frank Ntilikina both prefer shooting from the top of the arc and can both shoot high percentages. Both are unselfish players with the ball in their hands and active on the defense end. Brogdon averaged 1.1 SPG this past season, but wasn’t a shot-blocking guard like Ntilikina has the potential to be. Dante Exum (6’6” 196 lbs) was slightly smaller coming into the league than what Ntilikina will measure, but possesed similar traits to what Frank Ntilikina is being scouted for. Exum was described as a quick, long guard who is smooth and creative with the ball. He was described as a defensive guard who loved to put pressure on shooters and very unselfish. Frank Ntilikina is being described very similar to Exum, but he is a better all-around shooter than Exum was and still is. With the right fit, Frank Ntilikina can become a year-to-year all-star and be a player a team can build around for future years. Do not be shocked to see a team with established guards select Ntilikina because there are few international prospects like him.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: