Mavericks Banking On Fresh Talent On Defence

Dean Riley - 20 Sep 2021

There’s just over a week to go until the start of training camp and the Dallas Mavericks have signed free agent guard Frank Ntilikina, with the team confirming last week that the guard picked one spot ahead of the squad’s selection of Dennis Smith Jr. in 2017’s Top 10 draft.

Drafted eighth overall eight years ago by the New York Knicks, Ntilikina spent a total of four years with the team, where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.7 assists. The Belgium-born star moved to France at the age of 3 before starting his career as a professional player in 2015’s French pro-league.

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It’s About More Than Points

Ntilikina’s signing involves a two-year contract, into which is incorporated a team option for the second year. While the star guard wasn’t the biggest name on the open market during the summer by any measure, he could very well end up emerging the best buy Dallas has made all year long.

If anything, Ntilikina is the defensive edge the Mavericks so desperately require. His defence on the perimeter, especially, promises a valuable addition for Dallas.

While the newest Dallas addition isn’t known for points scoring, this isn’t what the Mavericks need right now. Versatile enough to play with both starters as well as the bench unit with equal efficiency, he’s a perfect fit. In fact, he’s bound to be precisely that playing alongside superstar guard Luka Doncic.

He’s Raw Energy Defence

Now is a scoring league in an interesting NBA era, and with Ntilikina having shown himself especially adept at impressing and making an impact without necessarily putting up any points, he’s bound to emerge a rare find for a Dallas in need of defence support.

At 6-foot-4, Doncic has a wingspan stretching an incredible 7-foot-1. This makes him a force to contend with not only when it comes to locking up the ball, but also for plugging lanes and deflecting passes.

Another factor that makes of him a great acquisition is his age. At only 23, he’s got the value of the energy of youth on his side. And since the Knicks never really gave him the playing time that would have been fully justified given his promise projected back in the days when he was just a lottery pick, now might be the time for Dallas to make him shine.

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