Mavs Draft Rumors: Dallas Will Select Frank Ntilikina With No. 9 Pick If He's Available

The New York Knicks have shown a lot of interest in French point guard Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 pick, but with news that they are also interested in Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen, the Dallas Mavericks have some hope that he will be available when they draft at No. 9.

If he is, Dallas plans to take him, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

French point guard Frank Ntilikina, after arriving at Liberty International Airport in Newark on Tuesday for Thursday’s NBA draft, denied a report his preference is to be drafted by the Mavericks over the Knicks.

Ntilikina, 18, reiterated the Knicks are a strong option for him because he fits well into triangle principles. The Mavericks have hired his Strasbourg coach, Vince Collett, for Dallas’ summer-league team. If the Knicks pass on Ntilikina at No. 8, the Mavericks, whose owner, Mark Cuban, flew to Venice recently to meet Ntilikina, are expected to nab him at No. 9.

“I have no preference like that,’’ Ntilikina told The Post. “All I need is to be in a really good project for me. I know it will all then depend on me. The NBA draft is just a step to the real goal — to make a big career in the NBA. I just want to be in a good project and atmosphere.’’

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Ntilikina has been linked to Dallas throughout the draft process given their need at point guard, and he's reportedly one of the names at the top of their board. His team, Strasbourg, is playing in the French League Finals, so he has not been able to work out for any teams. However, he has met with Mavs owner Mark Cuban.

Ntilikina, who was born is Belguim, has been playing professionally for Strasbourg since the 2014-15 season. He is averaging 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game this season while shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 43.1 percent from three-point range.

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Related Topics: 2017 NBA Draft, NBA Draft Rumors, Mavs Draft Rumors, Mavs Rumors, 2017 NBA Draft Rumors, NBA Rumors, Frank Ntilikina