Former New York Knicks Lottery Pick Set to Join Top Contender

Frank Ntilikina

Getty Aaron Holiday is defended by Frank Ntilikina during a February 27 game against the Indiana Pacers.

After suffering from years of mediocrity the New York Knicks were able to (sort of) reach the mountain top. The Knicks, a franchise that has become accustomed to losing have only reached the playoffs three times in the last 10 seasons. All of that changed in 2021 as the Knicks secured the number 4 spot in the Eastern Conference as they made their first trip to the postseason since 2013.

The Knicks have climbed their way back into contention the old school way. They haven’t signed any top 10 players to form a super team, but they have built well through the NBA draft. One of their key lottery picks was French guard Frank Ntilikina who they selected with the 8th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Ex-New York Knick Frank Ntilikina Signs With Mavericks

While Ntilikina’s stats don’t raise eyebrows his presence on the floor is where he added most of his value. As a defensive tyrant, the Knicks could always count on Ntilikina to give the team a boost when their energy was down. New York decided to not renew Ntilikina’s contract this summer, making him a free agent. On Friday, the French guard chose a new home in Dallas as he agreed to a deal to sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

Derrick Rose’s Resurgence Could Have Led to Ntilikina’s Exit

In four seasons with the Knicks, the France native averaged 5.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists. He only started 55 of the 211 games that he played with the Knicks.

At 23 years old, you have to wonder if the Knicks made the right decision by giving up on the Ntilikina project so early. Part of the reason that the Knicks may have been so quick to pull the trigger is the resurgence of former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose. Last season Rose averaged 14.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in 35 games for the Knicks.

Jamal Crawford Lists Derrick Rose Among Favorite Players

Rose at one time sat on the mountain top of the league’s elite point guards but a myriad of injuries had diminished him to being just a shell of what he used to be. But Rose has fought his way back to the top and for that reason, he has become one of ex-Knicks guard Jamal Crawford’s favorite players.

“Derrick Rose bar none. He is one of my favorite players ever honestly and it is weird because he is actually under than me. All of my other favorite players are all older because they all inspired me when I was watching them, but D Rose his talent, and to know his humility and how humble he is after all he has been through,” Crawford said to Landon Buford.

The Knicks are coming off of a disappointing first-round playoff exit at the Hands of Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. However, they have to be somewhat proud of their 2020 season as many people were expecting them to be back in the draft lottery.

Instead, they ended up being a top 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. With playoff experience expect this squad to improve on a season where they already overperformed. The only way is up from here and if the Knicks continue to build at the rate they did last season, they could be on their way to being a power house

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