NBA Draft 2017 Prospect Watch: Frank Ntilikina

Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 5


For as much as Ntilikina has a wide range of intriguing skills, it’s his physical gifts and how they could mesh with his basketball abilities that are most exciting.

From a measurements perspective, Ntilikina represents close to the ideal mold for the modern NBA point guard. The Frenchman stands at 6’5″ tall, and is widely reported to possess a 7’0″ wingspan — although official measurements have yet to surface.

This combination of long arms and lengthy strides screams out two-way potential, and that is what Ntilikina has started to show in his recent play.

Ntilikina told the New York Times in January that he was “learning to use his prodigious wingspan, measured at around seven feet, to disturb opposing players, eliminating passing angles and making them think twice about shooting”.

Not only should this ultimately allow him to stifle smaller guards with heavy on-ball pressure, but Ntilikina has good hands which will allow him to be a pest in the passing lanes, and even cover occasional close outs on late rotations from teammates.

Offensively, Ntilikina has shown the ability to finish athletically at the rim, pick out teammates in transition and off drives, and even knock down mid-range and three-point shots. The skills are certainly there, but the challenge will be to put it all together.

One of the biggest knocks on Ntilikina used to be his shooting range, but as Mike Schmitz of Draft Express acknowledged following his latest FIBA exploits, he has “answered a lot of questions about his outside shot”

If anything, this would seem to be just one example of how Ntilikina has benefited from playing with accomplished professionals at club level. Although point guard projects to be his position long term, Strasbourg’s more polished point guard options have forced the youngster into playing shooting guard at times. That off-ball experience looks to have rounded out Ntilikina’s game, and should make him all the more versatile in the future.

Next: Weaknesses