The Toronto Raptors recently signed guard Svi Mykhailiuk to a two-year contract to beef up the back end of the roster. Now, there are three or four roster spots still open for partially guaranteed players like Ishmail Wainright, Isaac Bonga, and Sam Dekker to battle for. If Toronto wants to take one more gamble, Frank Ntilikina might be a solid option.
Ntilikina, who was picked eighth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, the 6-4 guard was pitched as a two-way star for the next decade. However, his offense never quite developed like the Knicks hoped it would.
Ntilikina averaged just 6.0 points and 3.1 assists per game on 36% shooting and 31% from beyond the arc last season. Last year, where he averaged just nine minutes per game, he made 48% of his 3-pointers, but just 19% of his 2-pointers.
Although Ntilikina has his weaknesses, he fits with the length and youth the team is trying to accrue. His efforts with the Knicks have not landed him much playing time, and his weakness on the offensive end is what makes him a liability, but there is still some developmental value.
If he were to compete for a roster spot with the Raptors, he would have a better shot than Dekker. Dekker has been out of the NBA for years, and was ineffective when he was in the States. Ntilikina might have more long-term potential as a backup point guard than Dekker does at small forward.
Frank Ntilikina could be a nice low-risk signing for the Toronto Raptors
The Raptors development staff have done a terrific job with young players, especially when it comes to making them better on offense, and Ntilikina could be next in line. Toronto has one true young point guard in Malachi Flynn, and with the athleticism and length that Ntilikina has, he can be a playmaker if the Raptors work with him.
Ntilikina is younger than Flynn and has more league experience. He would not likely take minutes away from Flynn, but he could come off the bench and slowly work his way into the rotation provided the shot is
If nothing else, his defense will still be solid, as his 7-1 wingspan and ability to guard multiple positions make him ideal for how Toronto wants to build their roster.
For Dekker, he might be overshadowed by the fact that the Raptors already have Pascal Siakam, Precious Achiuwa, Stanley Johnson, Yuta Watanabe, Scottie Barnes, and Chris Boucher, who can all take minutes away from Dekker and render him redundant.
The Raptors are looking to prove that they are able to compete in the Eastern Conference despite the departure of Kyle Lowry, who left to join the Heat. Toronto has a strong coaching staff, and the best way to accentuate their stars is to add as many solid depth pieces as possible.
It remains to be seen if Dekker earns one of the final roster spots, but it seems like unrestricted free agent Ntilikina would have a better shot if he were in his position.