Clarence Gaines Jr., the closest advisor to Knicks president Phil Jackson, is the latest team official to get a first-hand look at Frank Ntilikina, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Jackson’s preference for big guards may be enough for New York to draft Ntilikina at No. 8, although Berman notes that North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith Jr. and Kentucky’s Malik Monk both have supporters in the front office. Ntilikina is 6’5″ with a 7-foot wingspan, a reputation for defensive intensity and a high basketball IQ. Jackson has developed a liking for European prospects after his success with Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez. Ntilikina’s case isn’t helped by his modest numbers — 5.2 points and 1.2 assists in about 18 minutes per game in the French League — but he says he is becoming a more aggressive player.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Saturday’s trade between the Sixers and Celtics removes a potential destination for Raptors free agent Kyle Lowry, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Philadelphia had been considered a threat to sign Lowry because it’s his hometown and the Sixers have considerable cap space. But with point guard Markelle Fultz headed to Philadelphia, there’s no need to spend money on Lowry.
- The Nets may gamble on Latvian star Anzejs Pasecniks with one of their two picks late in the first round, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. A former teammate of Porzingis, the 7-foot-2, 226-pound center will have to develop his body to handle the NBA game. “Pasecniks is one of those guys that’d be perfect for a team with multiple [first-round] picks. Brooklyn’s got multiple picks,” said ESPN international analyst Fran Fraschilla. “Portland, and maybe even Utah may have multiple picks. He’s one of those guys that you could draft [and stash] him. Although he’s 21 and he’s anxious to get over here and start his NBA career.”
- Brooklyn guard Archie Goodwin is a rare player with four years of experience who is volunteering for Summer League, tweets NetsDaily. Goodwin played briefly for the Pelicans and Nets this season, but spent most of the year in the D-League. He is hoping to secure a spot on the team after signing a two-year deal in April that contains several guarantee dates.