Could the Detroit Pistons be targeting New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina? According to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, this looks like it’s something the Pistons could entertain later on down the road, if not sooner.
A deal would make sense for both sides. As of this writing, Frank Ntilikina is battling for the starting point guard spot on a Knicks rotation that already includes Elfrid Payton (25 years old) and Dennis Smith Jr. (21 years old), the latter of which whom the Knick’s received in a blockbuster trade that sent former Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks have not picked up Frank’s fourth year team option either, although they still have time (October 31st) to make a decision around that.
In Detroit, Frank would be locked into a battle for minutes with point guard’s Reggie Jackson (29 years old), and Derrick Rose (31 years old).
Reggie Jackson is coming off a season in which he averaged 15.4 points, 4.2 assist and a career high 2.1 three pointers per game. He was also able to play in all 82 games last season, the first time he’s been able to play in 70+ games since the 2015-16 season when he played in 79 games. Reggie Jackson is currently playing for a new contract, as his contract with the Pistons will expire after the 2019-20 season is over.
Derrick Rose is coming off a season in which he played in 51 games while averaging 18 points, 4.3 assist and 1.1 three pointers per game. Derrick Rose has not played in at least 70 games in a season since accomplishing that feat during his 2010-11 season with the Chicago Bulls. Derrick Rose signed a two year deal with the Pistons over the summer.
The Knicks figure to give Dennis Smith Jr. every opportunity to succeed as their starting point guard of the future. The Knicks should go after a veteran backup point guard, someone who can mold Dennis Smith Jr. into a potential future NBA All-Star. The Knicks gave up a lot to get him, so they should be committed to his future for at least a few more seasons.
In Detroit, Reggie will be coming off the books after the season ends, and Rose will be entering the following season at age 32. In Detroit, Frank (who is only 21 years old) would have a fresh start, and could potentially be the Pistons point guard of the future. The Pistons shouldn’t give the Knicks too much to make the deal go through, meaning their all-stars (Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin) and promising young pieces (Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya and Bruce Brown Jr.) should be off the table in any deal involving Frank.
A second round pick may suffice here. If the Knicks focus their attention on developing Dennis Smith Jr., then moving on from Frank Ntilikina may be best for both sides.
Frank Ntilikina is coming off season averages of 5.7 points, two rebounds and 2.8 assist per game, but after a great summer playing for France in which Frank helped his team defeat team USA 89-79, there still seems to be room for growth for the young French point guard.