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Canis Draft Guide, Part 2: Fox, Smith, Markkanen, Isaac, Ntilikina

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In part two, we look at the next batch of five players that round out most top 10 draft boards.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Part 2 of our NBA draft series here at Canis Hoopus brings the next best five prospects according to Draft Express. We pulled the top 30 players about three weeks ago and will be releasing each part in sets of five players. Then part 7 will cover THE BEST OF THE REST, in which we look at all of the potential second round gems gunning to be the next Manu Ginobili, Draymond Green, Paul Millsap, or Marc Gasol.

If you missed Part 1—we looked at five of the most highly-touted players in this year’s draft pool, headlined by point guards Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball—you can catch up here!

All of the height, wingspan, weight, and age data comes from Draft Express. Visit their excellent site all year long for outstanding prospect coverage.

De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky, PG

UCLA v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

AGE: 19.3 (Freshman)
HEIGHT: 6'4.0"
WINGSPAN: 6'6"
WEIGHT: 171
Draft Express Rank: #6

Via Dane Moore: @NikolaPekovic

There’s something about watching a lefty stroke a jumper. Generally speaking, their shots just look pure. This perception often comes from near perfect mechanics. Regardless of handedness, the most important facet to a good and consistent jump shot is the repetition of motion. James Harden is known for a herky-jerky motion when he drives to the basket in an effort to draw fouls, but his jump shot is the opposite. It is a model of consistency.

This is not the case with the left-handed De’Aaron Fox.

While Fox has a plethora of other skills, which we will get to, his shot and its mechanics are erratic. Thus, he will be polarizing for those who aim to break down who or what Fox will become in the NBA.

In Harden’s shot, we see what coaches call “Double 90s.” Double 90s are two ninety degree angles in the arms of a shooter; one at the armpit and one at the elbow. Regardless of the pace of play, the best shooters are able to consistently find Double 90s as they load for their shot.

This mechanical consistency is not there for Fox. His shot more so represents a slingshot released from an array of 45-degree angles. As you can see in Fox’s Draft Express profile, his shot is coiled back to his ear and essentially flung at the rim.

This flinging nature of his shot often causes the projection of the ball to have too much power. Many of Fox’s misses are long misses. In an interview with VICE Sports, an NBA scout touched on Fox’s shooting struggles:

"With him, often his shot depends on how much of his legs he gets into it. If you don't have really strong upper body, you have to get your legs in the shot in the right way. If not, you're going to overcompensate. I think that's what he's doing.”

Anyone who has played basketball, at any level, knows the feeling of shooting with tired legs. Fox shoots almost every shot with that type of reliance on his upper body, and the overcompensation is apparent.

A Point Guard Who Can’t Shoot

Timberwolves fans know all too well the difficulties of playing with a point guard who is inept in the shooting column. Since 2011, opponents have been going under screens and all but daring Ricky Rubio to shoot jumpers.

Kris Dunn’s rookie season was similarly flawed on offense, particularly his shooting. Of the 14 shooting zones defined by NBA.com/stats, Dunn was unable to shoot over 50 percent in all 14.

While some of Fox’s weaknesses may be symmetrical to the current point guards on the Wolves roster, he also possesses a fusion of their strengths and more.

Fox has the ability to be a weapon on defense, similar to Dunn. He has elite lateral quickness which should allow him to stay in front of his opponent. At 6’4” with a 6’6” wingspan, his length will be an asset in playing passing lanes. This season, Dunn had a league-high 6.6 deflections per 100 possessions. Fox has the potential to be equally hazardous to opponents. The havoc a Dunn-Fox backcourt would unleash on opposing offenses could outweigh their shortcomings on the other end.

Rubio has a well-documented ability to set up his teammates, but so does Fox. Whether it is the pick and roll or probing the lane, Rubio has always made up for his shooting by creating for his teammates. Fox’s skills with the ball in his hands will similarly mitigate the shooting issue. He is not exclusively a head down get to the basket point guard but has the ability to pepper the defense in the pick and roll, a la Rubio.

But you don’t draft a player in the top-10 to get deflections and pass out of the pick and roll. You draft them because they have a potential to be elite. Fox has that potential. His elite potential comes not only from those passes and defensive strengths but from an undeniable ability to get to the rim. Unlike Rubio and Dunn, Fox plays above the rim on offense. Way above the rim.

His forty-inch vertical is used in conjunction with his speed to blow by and above defenders, especially in transition. At Kentucky, Fox scored 5.9 points per game on the break according to Synergy Sports Technology. The Wolves pace would certainly increase with the addition of Fox. This could further unleash the Wolves core of Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Fox would also bring something different to the point guard position in the halfcourt offense. The ability to penetrate! His handle is tight and he uses it to get to the rim where he took 55 percent of his shots while at Kentucky. Even if Fox is guarded as a complete sieve as a shooter his burst to the basket is too good to eliminate his effectiveness. Regardless of what team he winds up on, Fox will immediately be one of the most elusive point guards in the NBA. With a head of steam, it is super difficult to stop him.

While it may not seem like the Wolves need a point guard, the concept of taking the best player available needs to be considered. There would be shooting issues if he were to play alongside Rubio or Dunn, but there is a real chance that he is an elite talent and the best available player on the board, if available, when the sixth pick rolls around.

Dunn played the end of the season playing off the ball with Rubio or Tyus Jones. He and Fox could share the floor. Playing alongside Rubio seems less likely. Rubio would not be able to guard the bigger guards Dunn could in a backcourt pairing with Fox.

The Wolves will not rule out drafting a point guard, and therefore us Rubio truthers (hand raised high) also need to consider this fate. The Wolves brass will consider Fox or any of the other point guards in the lottery with the knowledge that Rubio has two more years under a contract that is very tradeable. They will at least be considering a path where Rubio is not the point guard of the future.

That may be a tough pill to swallow, but if Fox is in fact taken by the Wolves there will be solace in a potential backcourt of Fox and LaVine that could be a force in transition. Think John Wall and Bradley Beal potential.

Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State, PG

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina State at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

AGE: 19.4 (Freshman)
HEIGHT: 6'3.0"
WINGSPAN: 6'3.0"
WEIGHT: 195
Draft Express Rank: #7

Via Drew Mahowald aka Young Drew @DrewMahowald:

If Tom Thibodeau is insistent on moving along from Ricky Rubio in the near-future, the Timberwolves are in the market for a point guard given that Kris Dunn appears to be better suited to play off-ball instead of trying to initiate offense in the halfcourt.

North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith Jr. is expected to fall right around where Minnesota will draft this June, which makes him a candidate to be Thibodeau’s “replacement” for Rubio if that’s the direction the organization chooses to go. Smith is the projected ninth overall pick in Draft Express’s latest mock draft.

He recorded some phenomenal production in his only season with the Wolfpack. The 6’3”, 195-pound guard averaged 18 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals in over 34 minutes per game. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year and was dubbed Second Team All-ACC.

Strengths

Smith’s freakish athleticism is eye-opening. He accelerates to a blurry top speed in a flash and is still able to handle the ball. He turned that athleticism into aggressiveness when attacking the hoop, able to take contact and finish or draw fouls at a high rate against some of the best competition in college basketball.

In the pick-and-roll game, Smith is adept at using his start and stop ability to create opportunities. He will often look to score first off the ball screen but is able to give it up when the help is drawn.

The production Smith recorded is even more impressive considering his supporting cast was generally unable to spread the floor. His 6.8 assists per 40 minutes are the fourth-highest mark in Draft Express’s Top 100, despite maneuvering in an offense that featured few shooters and multiple paint-cloggers.

Defensively, Smith showed flashes of great play—specifically as a fighter through screens and the ability to use his quick feet to stay in front of his man.

Weaknesses

Smith’s efficiency as a shooter is one of the biggest question marks surrounding his overall makeup as a prospect. He was extremely streaky in this area in 2016-17, putting together several ultra-efficient games and several on the opposite end of the spectrum.

For the season, Smith shot 50.9 percent from two-point range and 35.9 percent from the perimeter. To his credit, many of his three-point attempts were out of rhythm and from well beyond what would be the NBA arc.

Efficiency isn’t only a question mark on shots from the floor. While he was able to draw fouls at a high rate, his 71.5 percent mark at the free throw line leaves a lot to be desired for NBA scouts.

Smith’s defensive performance was inconsistent as well. When he isn’t defending the ball, his tendency is to relax and leave his defensive stance. Even when he is giving maximum effort, his measurables don’t allow him the versatility of defending multiple positions like many front offices desire.

Wolves Point of View

For now, point guard isn’t much of a need on Minnesota’s roster. Rubio and Tyus Jones can both orchestrate offenses well and Dunn is capable of shutting down an opposing guard and is learning how to run an offense.

But the possibility of Thibodeau moving on from Rubio is still real and it would instantly make acquiring a point guard a top priority. Thibs seemingly selected Dunn last year as Rubio’s de facto replacement and it wouldn’t shock anyone if he made a similar move a year later, though that type of move should not be encouraged at this point in the process.

The main issue with Smith’s fit with the Timberwolves roster is that he is ball-dominant. In other words, he is used to having the ball in his hands and creating for himself or others on a majority of possessions. He’s not an experienced off-ball offensive player and that’s basically a pre-requisite in an offense that includes Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

In some ways, Smith fits the mold for a prototypical Thibs point guard (if there even is one). He’s freakishly athletic and uses that athleticism to create opportunities and finishes well at the rim amidst the trees. But his defensive concerns should be enough to scare Thibs away from bringing him on the roster for the 2017-18 season.

Lauri Markkanen, Arizona, Forward-Center

NCAA Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Tournament-Arizona vs UCLA Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

AGE: 19.9 (Freshman)
HEIGHT: 7'0.0"
WINGSPAN: ?
WEIGHT: 225
Draft Express Rank: #8

Via Chris Riazi @CanisClyde:

Is Lauri a stationary stiff, or the stretch four Canis has been hoping for?

Full disclosure: I want to love Lauri Markkanen as a basketball player. I have a lifelong connection to the University of Arizona, having been born in their hospital. My mother taught there, and my father earned his doctorate there. I remember when I was a third grader in Tucson, a group of older students at my school just pretended to be the U of A basketball team for the school’s talent show. All they did was run around in jerseys and dunk on a plastic hoop, but first, they came out to elaborate introductions. You wouldn’t think something like that would stick out in my mind, but it did because they were emulating a special team: the 1987-88 Wildcats.

Those ‘Cats were led to the Final Four by Sean Elliot, who would go on to become David Robinson’s All-Star sidekick in the NBA and start at small-forward for the first Spurs NBA championship team. Their coach was none other than Minnesotan Lute Olsen, a forward thinking college coach that developed many a talented guard. His guards that year included none other than former Cleveland Indian Kenny Lofton, who was just as good at stealing the basketball as he was bases. Oh yeah, and Steve Kerr who shot 57.3% on 5.2 three-pointers per game. Tom Tolbert and Jud Buechler, another long-range bomber from the Bulls second three-peat squad, were also on that team.

Since then, Lute and the U of A produced many more talented NBA players such as Andre Iguodala, Gilbert Arenas, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby, Richard Jefferson, and a player many people are comparing Markkanen to: Channing Frye.

The other players Markkanen are being compared to range from stars like Dirk Nowitzki and Kristaps Porzingis to role-players like Ryan Anderson and Andrea Bargnani, all the way down to scrubs like Meyers Leonard and Steve Novak. Obviously he is compared to those guys because he is tall, white (let’s be honest) and can shoot threes. But how good of a three-point shooter is Markkanen?

The numbers and the eye-test indicate Markkanen is an elite three-point shooter. He shot 4.4 threes per game, hitting an impressive 42.3% of them. Other noteworthy college freshman forwards and centers in the 4 and 40 club include Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, and three-point Shootout champion Jason Kapono. I couldn’t find a single other 7-footer on the list.

As far as the eye-test goes, Lauri’s shot is silky-smooth, pretty and lightning quick. Markkanen can run off screens to catch and shoot like no other 7-footer I’ve seen. While most men his height lumber around the floor like behemoths, Lauri is light on his feet and glides around the court. And sure, many NBA big men have added the three-pointer to their game, but their slow, trebuchet-like set shots are just plain fugly compared to Markkanen’s sweet stroke.

Lauri Markkanen can do more than just shoot, too. His quick feet and motor indicate he has some potential to contribute on the defensive end of the court. And the thing that surprised me most when scouting Markkanen is his ability to handle the ball in the pick-and-roll. Arizona actually used Lauri in 4-5 pick-and-roll plays, and he didn’t look half bad.

So why wouldn’t the Wolves want to add Lauri Markkanen with their lottery pick and fill their need for a stretch four? Well, for one thing, anyone who followed the team last year knows they were absolutely annihilated by opposing big men. For a stretch, guys like Tyson Chandler, Marcin Gortat and DeAndre Jordan feasted against the Wolves, putting up some of the best games of their respective seasons. Things seemed to get better down the stretch as the ever-amazing Karl Anthony-Towns did yet another thing most NBA players never can: he got stronger in-season.

Lauri is a skinny kid who is going to get pushed around for a while, if not his whole career. Kristaps Porzingis does pretty well for himself, despite being skinny, but he is on another level from Markkanen when it comes to height and length. I couldn’t find a definitive measurement of Markannen’s wingspan, and that doesn’t seem to be an accident. Draft Express videos point out that Lauri’s short arms hinder him as a rebounder and rim protector.

Considering both Markkanen’s gifts and flaws, I highly doubt he will end up on the Wolves. Tom Thibodeau doesn’t seem to be looking for a rookie project that will take years to develop. On one hand, it might be fun to see the Wolves go all-in on offense like the Rockets, playing four elite shooters around Karl-Anthony Towns, but that would involve a lot more roster revision than just drafting Lauri Markkanen. I’ll be pulling for Markkanen to be successful, and I hope he can become a much better player than Ryan Anderson—who ain’t bad, mind you—but ultimately, I hope the Wolves select a different player that can contribute on both ends of the court more quickly.

Jonathan Isaac, Florida State, SF/PF

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

AGE: 19.6 (Freshman)
HEIGHT: 6'11.0"
WINGSPAN: 7'1.3"
WEIGHT: 205
Draft Express Rank: #9

Via John Meyer @thedailywolf:

I love Jonathan Isaac’s NBA potential so much that I decided to send him a little message on Twitter. Why? Because it’s important to start every relationship off the right way. Jonathan needs to know that we, The Canis Collective, are basically all-in on him this draft season. We like you, Jonathan. We want to see you blocking shots into the 10th row at Target Center for the next 15 years. We want Tom Thibodeau to mold you into a two-way beast that can add spacing to a crowded offense and help turn this team’s defensive rating around.

Back in December, The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks wrote about a Florida State freshman who was going under the radar a bit due to having a smaller role in the Seminoles offense, with the lowest usage out of all the big one-and-done names, but still looked like a top-five talent. An elite NBA prospect hiding in plain sight, the title read.

That’s when Isaac popped up on my radar.

As we grow closer to an age of positionless basketball, Isaac is the player type that a growing number of front offices and basketball junkies are drooling over. The immediate rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t helping the temptation that should be felt when players like Isaac enter the NBA draft.

Now, don’t get things twisted, he is not the next Greek Freak. That would be a completely unfair comparison to make. But the uber talented 19-year-old from the Bronx is an incredibly fluid combo forward that can swat a shot a foot above the rim on one end, run the entire court in three steps like a gazelle, and knock down the corner triple on the other end all in about five seconds. His skill set is diverse and there’s really no telling where his upside ends. That’s what makes Isaac one of the most tantalizing and intriguing talents in the 2017 draft.

Skills

Isaac’s height, wingspan, versatility and a broad set of skills makes him an incredibly enticing prospect. Obviously this isn’t breaking news, but it’s really tough to find 19-year-olds who are 6’11” and can shoot 34.8 percent from deep (his true shooting percentage was 61.4 percent) while blocking 1.5 shots and nabbing 1.2 steals in 26.2 minutes per game. At times over his freshman season at FSU, Isaac flashed guard skills and that’s where the intrigue really starts to set in. He showed the ability to create off the dribble from the perimeter, particularly leaning on his one-dribble pull-up going to his left.

Against North Carolina, the eventual NCAA champions, Isaac demonstrated his ability to create early offense after grabbing the defensive rebound and pushing in transition. He freezes the defender with a hesitation and nails the pull-up jumper. Then he shows that one-dribble pull-up—one of his go-to moves that defenders have little shot at blocking or even contesting due to his height and high release point.

These are skills that project quite favorably to the small forward position in the NBA if he is indeed too thin and weak to go against power forwards in the Association.

In Miami, Isaac shows a similar ability to push the ball in the secondary transition. He sees the big hedge too hard and does what any smart guard would do; split the pick-and-roll coverage and leave them in the dust. See you later, chump! Again, this sequence is a testament to his guard skills. There are literally almost no 6’11” forward prospects that can do this.

While Isaac seems to possess pretty strong court vision and passing chops, he certainly didn’t create enough to be considered a point forward prospect at this point, though it might be in his future; Isaac averaged 1.8 assists per 40 minutes, and had more turnovers (48) than assists (37).

But the guard skills, as I mentioned, show up on film. Isaac is more than capable of putting the ball on the floor and creating off the dribble. One minor quibble would be that occasionally he can look weak with the rock and can get pushed off his spots due a lack of strength. More burly wing defenders like P.J. Tucker will give him issues at the NBA level at the start of his career.

Another important point to remember when discussing Isaac is that he was a 6’3” guard as a freshman in High School before experiencing a giant growth spurt between his sophomore and junior year when all of a sudden ... oh lord Jonathan is 6’10” now! When guys grow that dramatically it seems likely they will lose some coordination as they adjust to their new body but with Isaac this is what seems so promising. He doesn’t look like Bambi learning to walk.

Isaac’s handle appears to be stronger than he may get credit for at this point. This is most certainly not a Corey Brewer “Drunken Dribbler” type prospect we’re talking about—and I would classify him as a hybrid combo forward who can score inside and out with an immense upside defensively. His best position will likely be the four (a potential matchup nightmare) but it’s likely going to take some seasoning to get there, and he will have to get in the weight room to bulk up.

After a few seasons, we should see his game go to another level as he uses his smooth jumper to stretch defenses out to the perimeter (his jab stab is very good and creates plenty of space) in turn creating more space and driving lanes for his teammates to operate in halfcourt sets. Right off the bat, entering the league, one has to imagine him matching up against small forwards and wings, though he should be able to guard a lot of the stretch fours too.

Against Clemson, Isaac shows us that he can be a scoring threat once receiving the ball on the perimeter.

Perhaps his best skill is rim protection, and he has shown the ability to get into passing lanes as well. Defensively, his ceiling looks to be higher than every player in the draft aside from Josh Jackson of Kansas. Isaac posted a block percentage of 6.2 (that’s very good) and a steal percentage of 2.4. Only 9 players in college basketball this past season (Isaac was one of them) had steal percentages > 2.0 with a block percentage > 6.0 and a TS% > .600. Of those players, only Oregon junior Jordan Bell (projected to go #39 at DX) is likely to play at the next level.

Time to check out some of his defensive plays this past season:

Block Party!

We covered Duke’s Jayson Tatum in Part 1 of this series, and now Jonathan shows us what he thinks of Tatum attacking the rim. Not in Isaac’s house!

Watch how Isaac switches on the screen here and then switches again (Florida State switches everything) and tell me this doesn’t project super well to the modern NBA when tons of matchups call for this very type of coverage:

Check out this help-side rim protection, particularly the way Isaac goes straight up to challenge and deny this poor Virginia Tech players attempt.

I will leave you with one last endearing defensive play. I love players who don’t hang their heads and quit on a possession after screwing up. Isaac could have easily let the opposing player cruise in for a layup after he turns it over.

Instead, he LeBron’s him.

Other notable stats:

  • Isaac finished 18th in the nation in Box Plus/Minus, posting a 10.9 BPM. Here’s the top 20 (via sports-reference/cbb):
  • Isaac averaged 12.0 rebounds per 40 minutes. He has strong rebounding upside and shows the determination to go up for boards and fight on the glass.
  • Usage percentage = 20.3
  • Turnover percentage = 13.3

Question Marks

Can Jonathan Isaac fill out? Is he strong enough to guard fours without getting completely wiped out in the paint, or get into immediate foul trouble? Tjarks likened him to the Lakers Brandon Ingram in that same column I previously noted.

Isaac is a lot like Brandon Ingram, the no. 2 pick in last year’s draft. Neither player possesses the ideal frame to support a ton of extra weight, which means adding core strength will be extremely important for them to reach their potential in the NBA. Guys like Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith Jr., and Miles Bridges have mature bodies that will allow them to physically compete at the next level right away. Isaac is still growing into his body, and, as such, will need more time to develop. Considering the impatience of most NBA franchises, that fact alone will make him one of the more polarizing prospects in this year’s draft. The good news is he already has 14 pounds on Ingram, who weighed only 196 pounds at the draft combine.

Isaac doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses in his game aside from, well, his lack of strength. That is the biggest criticism and most glaring hole; he has a slight frame and needs to add muscle and become stronger both in his upper and lower body if he is going to become what many people believe he can be at the next level.

But if there is one weakness that I would feel could be improved at the NBA level, it’s strength. Every organization has talented strength and conditioning coaches to help players take their bodies to the next level. Teaching someone that sucks at three-pointers to shoot three-pointers is obviously not likely to occur but Isaac adding muscle and becoming stronger seems like a good bet as long as he is driven enough to put the work in.

Potential with the Wolves

As I said at the start of this profile, Jonathan Isaac is the dream pick for most of Wolves Nation right now and the reasons are fairly obvious. His ceiling appears to be tremendously high, the rim protection he offers should dramatically help a team that doesn’t show much resistance in that area, he fills the need for a dynamic young forward that does a little bit of everything, he can space the floor while Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins go to work, he fits the core in terms of defensive needs, and looks like a potential star low-usage swiss army knife player that can potentially tie everything together.

I will leave you with something to chew on. In Tom Thibodeau’s last press conference of the season, he was asked, “what is the most important things this team needs to add?”

His response? “Probably some defense. Shot blocking, a wing defender, and then the shooting. We’ve got to add more shooting.” When the presser ended all I could think about was one player who could fit all of those needs.

His name is Jonathan Isaac.

Frank Ntilikina, Strasbourg, PG

Age: 18.7
Height: 6’5”
Wingspan: 6’11”
Weight: 170 pounds
Draft Express Rank: #10

Via Tony Porter @porterzingis:

Here we are with our first international player on the board! We've got Frank Ntilikina (the 't' is silent and you pronounce the i's like 'ee'), a French national player born in Belgium. He currently plays for Strasbourg IG in France and has been with the club since 2015.

It can be tough to scout players like Frank for the NBA since they aren't typically matched up with their peers. He joined his professional team at the ripe old age of 15 years old. This isn't like when your freshman all-star point guard is playing for varsity and embarrassing high school seniors. This is a developing teenager going against adults who have played professional basketball for quite some time.

Keep this in mind if you're just looking at his professional stats for his club: he's a role player for them that comes off the bench. A better barometer for Ntilikina's potential is to look at his play during the U18 European Championship. That can be dangerous as well, considering his team only played six games, but Frank showed the NBA that he is worthy of being discussed as a lottery pick.

All he did during that tournament was lead his team on the way to a gold medal while earning MVP honors.

When looking at tape, the first thing you notice is the Frenchmen’s size. He is 6’5” with a reported wingspan reaching nearly seven feet, allowing him to disrupt passing lanes while not having to play right up on the ball-handler. During the Euros in 2016, he averaged 3.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per 40 minutes due to his length, quick hands and anticipation.

He is a pickpocketing menace on the defensive end:

One benefit of playing with professionals from a young age is the reps you get on defense in practice. Ntilikina shows great basketball IQ on both ends of the floor but he can thank his experience with SIG for being one of the better guards coming to the NBA in regards to defense.

His length also allows him to be an excellent pick and roll facilitator. He hit the roll guy at a 48% clip during the Euros. He’s a pass first guy and the size advantage that he has over other guards allows him to see and complete passes that may not be possible for smaller players.

Frank using his size against Italy in the semi-finals:

He averaged 6.7 assists per 40 minutes throughout the tournament and had nearly a 35% assist percentage.

There are some concerns with Frank. Historically, his shooting has been suspect and inconsistent, though he did light up the Euros which is encouraging. He shot 17-29 from deep, including 7-10 in the championship game on the way to 31 points, but he’s never been that accurate of a shooter so it’s tough to know if this is an outlier or not.

His jumper has a slow release and he isn’t able to create separation on his own very well. Though he has great length and quickness, Ntilikina lacks a second gear when pushing the offense. He relies on his size to score over smaller players but when he attacks the rim he usually settles for difficult floaters since he can’t get by defenders with any speed.

Somewhat related, he struggled mightily when pressured on offense. He averaged 5.0 TOV per 40 and had a turnover rate of 22.8 percent with defender right on him. One saving grace is his high basketball IQ which may mean that he’s able to be more creative in trying to create space.

Overall, Frank isn’t a great fit for Minnesota. With three point guards already on the roster, he is not going to be drafted here. Not to mention that two of those existing guards are the same type of player as him, with Rubio and Dunn both having great size, both great at defense and both suspect at shooting.

Ntilikina is one of the youngest players in the pool and yet his experience playing professionally already gives him a leg up on his competition. I think he’ll be a good to great player eventually, but he won’t be doing it in a brand spankin’ new Wolves jersey.