Mark Cuban Hypes Failed Top-10 Pick as Mavs Replacement for Jalen Brunson

Dallas Mavericks, Frank Ntilikina

Getty Frank Ntilikina #21 of the Dallas Mavericks.

Heading into this season, the Dallas Mavericks have a big decision to make regarding their starting lineup. With Jalen Brunson departing for New York in free agency, there is a hole in the backcourt next to star guard Luka Doncic.

Jason Kidd will have multiple options at his disposal. However, Mavs owner Mark Cuban already has his sights set on a possible breakout candidate. During a recent interview, he mentioned Frank Ntilikina as an under-the-radar player to take a step forward this season.

I think Christian (Wood) and Frank (Ntilikina) both. In particular, what Frank did defensively (in the postseason) while being sick and banged up was insane.

Ntilikina is gearing up for his second season in Dallas after spending the first four years of his career with the Knicks. The former top-10 pick appeared in 58 games in 2022 and posted averages of 4.1 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and 1.2 APG. While his shooting numbers weren’t stellar (39.9% from the field and 34.2 from three), his seven-foot-one wingspan makes him an ideal defensive-minded option to put aside Doncic. 

Replacing the production will be an adjustment for the Mavs early on, but Cuban feels the supporting cast is capable of stepping up and filling the void.

People forget we have Frank (Ntilikina), who will be better this year. We went into last season with Luka, JB and Frank and turned our season around more than a month before the trade deadline. And by adding back THJ (Tim Hardaway Jr.) and adding Christian (Wood), I don’t think scoring will be an issue for us.

Mark Cuban Likes What he Sees From Christian Wood

Even though the Mavs lost Jalen Brunson in free agency, they still managed to make upgrades in other areas. On draft night, they sent the 26th pick, Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, and Marquese Chriss to the Houston Rockets in exchange for big man Christian Wood.

After spending the start of his career in the G-League, Wood emerged as one of the league’s most promising young big men. In 68 games last season, the 26-year-old averaged 17.9 PPG and 10.1 RPG while shooting 39% from beyond the arc.

Mark Cuban has got to see Wood in action this summer and is excited about what he will bring to the Mavs moving forward.

He has been incredible in workouts. We are really, really excited to see what he can do … I think his shot creation and shooting are far better than people realize. He will be really good defensively in our system because he is long and mobile

Luka Doncic Game-Winner Resurfaces

Part of what has made Luka Doncic one of the NBA’s most must-watch stars is his ability to deliver in big moments. In his first four seasons, he currently has three game-winning shots under his belt. The 23-year-old is already tied for the most in franchise history.

Recently, the NBA’s social media account started a ‘Clutch Week’ where they post countless game-winners throughout history. The Mavericks decided to get in on the action with a Doncic highlight from last season.

Back on November 6th, Dallas found themselves tied with the Boston Celtics with only 11 seconds to go in the game. Doncic calmly dribbled the ball up the floor and knocked down a step-back three over an outstretched Josh Richardson to secure the victory. The All-Star went on to finish the night with a stat line of 33 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

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