Free agents whose careers the Milwaukee Bucks can revive: No. 4 – Frank Ntilikina
Frank Ntilikina had a fairly unremarkable season with the Dallas Mavericks in 2022-23. He averaged 2.9 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game in 55 appearances. He shot 36.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range, which is all terrible.
At this point, he’s had his chances, and opportunities could be running out as more guards enter the league with every passing year.
But there’s a potential fit at play here with 24-year-old French guard Frank Ntilikina. The Bucks are looking for youth, defense, and a backup point guard, and Ntilikina is just looking for another chance to prove himself. It’s a match made in heaven if the Milwaukee Bucks would consider it.
In Ntilikina’s best moments, he was used primarily as a defensive stopper and a secondary playmaker. He did not have a lot of opportunities to score, but he did a solid job of defending his opponents and making plays for his teammates. His best game of the season came on February 12, when he scored 13 points and had five rebounds in a win over the New York Knicks. He also had a couple of double-digit assist games, including a 10-assist performance on March 11 against the Houston Rockets.
Ntilikina is an interesting player who has shown flashes of potential in his career but has never been able to put it all together consistently. The Bucks are a team that is looking to add depth to their backcourt, and Ntilikina could provide them with some much-needed defense and playmaking.
His offensive game has been inconsistent. He is not a great shooter, and he can be turnover-prone. Ntilikina has not shown much improvement in his game since he was drafted in 2017. He has still not developed a consistent jump shot, and he has not become a more effective playmaker. This has led to some questions about his potential, and it has made it difficult for him to find a role in the NBA. Compounding matters further is that he has missed significant time over the years with ankle and knee injuries, which has only slowed down his development further.
The Bucks are a team that is built to win now, and Ntilikina would not be expected to be a major contributor on offense for the Bucks, which could mitigate some of the risks the team might be taking on. At this age, he still could be a valuable piece off the bench and provide the Bucks with some much-needed defense and playmaking.
While the offense isn’t always (or more likely and truthfully, is never) going to be there, Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin has made it clear that he wants to craft a system that gets after the ball and generates easy offense by getting consistent stops. That bodes well for Frank, who has always had a reputation for being a good defender who can guard multiple positions despite his offensive deficiencies. Since he plays the point guard position, he is also a capable passer who can create for others. If he can get a few stops and assists in around 10 to 15 minutes per game consistently, that could be all he needs to signal to other teams that he deserves a spot in this league.
If Ntilikina can stay healthy and improve his offensive game, he could be a valuable asset for the Bucks. He has the potential to be a solid role player on a championship team.
These are just four players, but there are other interesting names out there who might value opportunity for than financial compensation at this point in their careers. Think of guys who took some time off due to injury or had underperformed for long stretches. There’s Stanley Johnson, TJ Warren, and Meyers Leonard, among others.
If the Milwaukee Bucks are able to take on more guys willing to prove themselves for cheap, they can set themselves up for success in both the short and medium term going forward.
Stay tuned for more updates as the Milwaukee Bucks look to round out their roster for the 2023-24 NBA season.