Did the Dallas Mavericks steer the New York Knicks away from drafting Dennis Smith Jr. by steering them towards Frank Ntilikina?
Prior to last year’s NBA Draft, the Dallas Maverick did a heck of a job making everyone believe that they were really interested in guard Frank Ntilikina.
As you can see by the tweet below, the Mavericks looked like they were very high on Ntilikina.
— Olivier MAZET (@OlivierMAZET) June 10, 2017
The Mavericks went as far as to leak that Ntilikina’s coach from France would coach the Mavs’ summer league team.
Frank Ntilikina's coach at Strasbourg, Vincent Collet, will coach with the Mavs Orlando Summer League team – Dallas all in on Ntilikina
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 19, 2017
There is a rumor floating around that the Mavs were targeting Dennis Smith Jr. the entire time and that they misled everyone, including the New York Knicks into thinking they wanted Ntilikina, so Smith would fall to them.
Marc Stein of the New York Times said the entire thing was a ruse.
Yet it was all something of a ruse. That whole time Dallas was growing infatuated with Smith, a 6-foot-3 North Carolina State freshman, despite well-publicized concerns about a knee injury he had suffered in high school and whispers of selfishness and moodiness when the Wolfpack struggled.
Of course, Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban claims that they weren’t trying to mislead anyone.
“Not a stunt at all,” Cuban wrote Friday, via the NY Daily News. “We like Frank quite a bit. If Dennis had been selected there was a very good chance we would have taken Frank.”
The good news for the Knicks is that it looks like Ntilikina has a bright future, while Smith has made an instant impact for Dallas this season.
I would hope that the Knicks would rely on their own scouting and not draft a player based on what kind interest he draws from another team. If they felt like Ntilikina was the best player and of course they should have selected him.
Comment below and give us your thoughts.