2: Frank Ntilikina
Similar to Theo Pinson, Frank Ntilikina went from the Knicks to the Mavericks, except the expectation was that Ntilikina would be in New York for more than four years after the front office drafted him No. 8 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Ntilikina was a force on the defensive end, but his offensive game wasn’t able to catch up. He left New York with a career-high average of 6.3 points, which came in 2019-20.
Ntilikina spent the past two seasons in Dallas and averaged 4.1 points in 2021-22 and 2.9 points in 2022-23. His shooting percentages took a dip this past season as he shot 36.4% from the field and a career-low 25.4% from three.
His defense was instrumental in helping the Mavericks get to the Western Conference Finals in 2022, but Dallas’ intentional tanking efforts kept the team out of the playoffs in 2023. The 24-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and likely won’t be staying with the Mavericks. It’s hard to carve out a consistent role when you can’t do much of anything on one end of the floor.
Knicks fans loved Frank when he was in New York, and still do. Even when visiting the Garden as a member of the Mavericks, Ntilikina warranted cheers from the crowd. Regardless of where he ends up next, he’ll always be welcome at MSG.