I recently spoke with Leo Beas from Cowbell Kingdom about De’Aaron Fox’s and Frank Ntilikina’s potential to be NBA stars. Watch the following video from 58:00 to 1:04:00 to hear my analysis on the two players and continue reading to hear my points a clearer.
The first point that I made was that we couldn’t be sure about Ntilikina’s abilities to be a playmaker yet. Frank Ntilikina played with Strasbourg this past season in France rather than coming to the United States to play in college. Depending on who you’re talking to, this could help or hurt his draft stock considering he only played about 18 minutes a game, shooting less than three times. That being said, he was playing against players already deep into their primes in Europe, and I believe players that come from the Euroleagues come into the NBA as better professionals.
Following that, my next point was that there were literally zero current-day NBA point guards who can’t consistently shoot the three. There have been past guys in the draft like Emmanuel Mudiay, Marcus Smart, and Elfrid Payton that people say “they can learn,” or “threes won’t win championships,” both of which were untrue for those three guys. Personally I really hope Fox can be different but I just don’t see that happening. That’s why I disagree so strongly with Leo’s star or bust breakdown. He can’t be a star without a better shot, but he can still be an decent playmaker and defender for any team. The Nuggets, Magic, and Celtics can all tell you that there is better value at the 5th pick from experience drafting similar players who couldn’t learn to shoot or live up to the hype.
The last point I made was about Buddy Hield’s progression as an isolation scorer. Obviously if Fox can’t punish a team for double teaming off of him on Hield, Hield will constantly be shut down unless he’s running around screens like a shooter. I don’t want that to happen to Buddy. Hield has the potential to be a natural scorer all around the court like DeMar Derozan or even Kobe Bryant. If we draft Fox, he will most likely be another off-ball shooter like Kyle Korver or Wesley Matthews.
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