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“Oh, this isn’t France. Is this France? This isn’t France, is it? I didn’t think so.”
The New York Knicks selected 18 year old Frank Ntilikina of France with the 8th overall selection in last night’s NBA Draft. Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I’ve watched his whole career and can fairly predict his future, but I AM going to tell you about the last time the Knicks selected a player from France. Anyone older than 25 should remember this one. Ah yesssss, the 15th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, Frederic Weis. Let’s just say that one didn’t work out so well.
I know, I know. It’s unfair to compare this kid to a player who was drafted 18 years ago just because they’re from the same country. It is fair, however, to point out that France hasn’t exactly produced a plethora of NBA talent. Tony Parker is the best French player of all-time, but he’s technically not even French. He grew up in France, so apparently that counts. It is also fair to be skeptical of any draft pick the Knicks make. I mean, they are ALL-TIME BAD at drafting. Don’t believe me?? Click here to see this list of mediocrity. But they drafted Kristaps Porzingis, and he’s a good international player. Yes, they did, but 1 pick doesn’t change 69 years of poor drafting.
Everyone who has seen this kid play has said he’s the real deal. He’s 18. He’s 6’5″. And he actually likes playing defense. Did you hear that Derrick Rose?? We found a player who likes playing defense. The ‘machine’ is also telling us he’s been playing professionally since the age of 15, so he’s an experienced 18 year old. Well, someone is going to have to define playing for me. At the age of 16, he played in 3 games (8 mpg). At 17, he played in 26 games, but only averaged 9.2 mpg. And at 18, he has finally received regular playing time of 18.2 mpg. The only problem is he’s averaging just 5.2 points and 1.4 assists per game. While he’s 18, with room to grow, and scouts universally projected him as a top-10 draft pick, it concerns me that this is the sample size they are using. 5.2 points and 1.4 assists????
I really hope I’m wrong about this kid.
If I were running the Knicks (a man can dream), I would have gone with Malik Monk out of Kentucky. Today’s NBA is filled with long-range shooters, and Monk was, without question, the best shooter in this year’s draft.
The Knicks also had 2 picks in the 2nd round. They selected Damyean Dotson (44th), a 6’6″ shooting guard out of the University of Houston. Dotson is an athletic guard who can shoot baby shoot. He averaged 44.3% shooting from 3-point range last season. And with the 58th pick, they selected Ognjen Jaramaz out of Serbia. At 21 years old, Jaramaz is a 6’4″ point guard.
Back to Ntilikina. Did you know his team is in the midst of a playoff run in Europe?? Immediately following the draft, he had to fly back to France to reunite with his team. ESPN reported he was scheduled to arrive at the game just in time for warm-ups. That’s nuts, but good for him! My only concern is, what if Ntilikina gets hurt playing overseas?? I know anyone can get hurt walking down the stairs, but the majority of last night’s draft picks are currently nursing hangovers in a New York City hotel room, not traveling halfway across the world to play for someone else.
Let’s collectively knock on wood.
Are you happy with the Knicks draft?? Give them a grade in the comment section below.