NBA Draft 2017 Prospect Watch: Frank Ntilikina

Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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Although Ntilikina will need to put on some weight upon arriving in the NBA, the biggest challenge he’s going to face isn’t going to be physical or even necessarily skill-related.

Ntilikina needs to improve as a decision-maker, and a lot of that is going to come down to finding greater confidence and aggression. As Andrew Keh of the New York Times wrote:

"“For Ntilikina, the goal is to wield [his] tools with more aggressiveness and consistency. He is quiet by nature. The people around him would love to see him take more risks, to make more mistakes, to show more fire. ‘He’ll tell me, ‘I have that inside,’ said Vincent Collet, the coach of Strasbourg and the French national team. ‘I tell him: ‘Don’t keep that inside. Show it.’”"

It will have been noted by NBA scouts that some of Ntilikina’s virtuoso performances for his national team have come at the expense of increased turnovers. At the FIBA Under-18 European Championship in December, Ntilikina averaged 3.3 turnovers in 27 minutes of play per game. In looking for the Frenchman to be aggressive offensively, turnovers may always prove to be a necessary evil. But even if he can overcome that element of his game, there’s going to be a period of learning in the interim.

Ntilikina’s physique and length give him distinct advantages that could make him a skilled inside scorer, yet at only 18, he has yet to fully understand how best to utilize his frame.

Ntilikina has no shortage of potential to improve further in the coming years, even if that could take some time. With an excellent attitude and a measured personality, there’s no reason to suggest he can’t overcome any of his current weaknesses.

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