One of the most asked questions during this NBA season: Dennis Smith Jr. or Frank Ntilikina?
You obviously have heard all of the drama between LeBron James and the Knicks. People have been trying to compare the two point guards but frankly, its hard to choose which one is better because they both have such different games.
The Knicks drafted Frank Ntilikina with the eight overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft over Dennis Smith Jr. who was taken with the ninth pick by the Mavericks. The Knicks were in need for a point guard and it was obvious they would take either of the two. When the Knicks passed on Smith some fans disagreed with the Knicks. Let’s compare the two.
Dennis Smith Jr: Pros
Dennis Smith Jr. has obvious positives as he has drawn comparisons to superstar, Russell Westbrook. Smith’s athleticism is ridiculous. He has shown off his athletic game with high-flying dunks. Smith is a popular candidate to win Rookie of the Year. Smith is averaging 15.8 points, 4.2 reb and 4.7 assists in 14 games. We all are hoping to see Smith in the Dunk Contest this season as well.
Gregg Poppovich was a fan of the rookie as he said that Smith “earned his respect.” He has had support from LeBron James as well, who he has known since he was 14 years old. LeBron is a huge fan of Smith:
“The Knicks passed on a really good one, and Dallas got the diamond in the rough. He should be a Knick. That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. Dallas is definitely, I know they’re excited that he didn’t go there.”
Frank Ntilikina: Pros
The main reason the Knicks took Frank was his defense. He Frank Ntilikina is 6’5 with a 7’0 wingspan which is very impressive for a point guard. He is currently tied for second in the league in steals. This is something that the Knicks needed very, very badly as they were one of the worst defensive teams in the league in the past few years. The Knicks having a young, defensive-minded point guard is huge.
With Ntilikina on the floor, the Knicks are giving up 102.4 points per 100 possessions. That would rank as the eighth-best defense in the league. When Ntilikina is off the court, the Knicks give up 108.7 points per 100 possessions, which would rank 29th in the NBA.
Fans were afraid to see Ntilikina go up against some of the games best, but he has put up a pretty good fight when he’s out there. He has proven that he isn’t intimidated by much as he shoved LeBron James three times when they faced the Cavs.
Another major trait that Ntilikina has is maturity. He is mature on and off of the court. You don’t see any ‘stupid’ plays from Ntilikina. He doesn’t take any bad shots and doesn’t make many bad passes. Knicks legend Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier was asked about the Knicks rookie, and he said this.
“From what I’ve heard, he hungers for knowledge,” Frazier said. “He wants to be the best and that’s half the battle right there.”
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