Chicago Bulls: Should team trade for Frank Ntilikina?

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Should the Chicago Bulls make a play for the New York Knicks point guard and former lottery pick?

It’s no secret that the Chicago Bulls are looking to upgrade at the point guard position. Whether it has been due to injuries, playing in a variety of different offensive systems, or just not being able to get it going, Kris Dunn has struggled offensively for the Bulls.

While he is a dynamo on defense, the team is looking for more offensive punch from the position. Some names that are out there on the free agent market (restricted or unrestricted) are Malcolm Brogdon, Kemba Walker, and Patrick Beverly. In terms of pursuing a point guard in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Bulls will likely miss out on the top two — Ja Morant and Darius Garland — as neither is expected to be around at pick No. 7.

If they are not able to secure a point guard in free agency and are not satisfied with their draft options, they could look to pursue their future point guard via trade. If so, one player they may consider is Frank Ntilikina. There are rumors he is unhappy with his situation and wants out of New York — though his agent has recently refuted those reports.

Why they shouldn’t

A former lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the 20-year-old has struggled to get it going in New York as well. Frankie Cigs, as he’s affectionately known in New York, has not lived up to the expectations of his draft position. It certainly doesn’t help that Donovan Mitchell was taken five picks later.

Either way, he’s only averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 assists per game in his young career and has found it difficult to get playing time. He’s only averaging 21.6 minutes per game and has only started 25 out of 121 total games. On a team as bad as the Knicks, you’d think he’d get more run.

Why they should

As previously mentioned, he’s only 20-years-old and may just be a late bloomer. There was something that Phil Jackson saw in him that made him think he was worthy of a top-10 pick, but maybe it hasn’t had enough time or opportunity to emerge. In addition, much like Dunn, he has undergone substantial turmoil in New York and so a change of scenery might do him good. Perhaps even a clean swap — Dunn for Ntilikina — could be proposed. Each player might benefit from getting into a new environment.

Cam Reddish should be the pick at No. 7. light. Related Story

Final verdict

Though Ntilikina has shown he is more than capable on the defensive end, and his style of play there would mesh well with Jim Boylen’s philosophy, he just doesn’t pack enough offensive wallop for what the Bulls are looking for. Offensively, he is not an upgrade over Dunn at the moment.

However, he is much younger than Dunn (by five years) and could develop into a more potent offensive weapon. If the Bulls were willing to wait and give him time to develop, that might be one thing. However, they are likely looking for a point guard more established and ready to contribute. For those reasons, they will likely pass on kicking the tires on Ntilikina.