Utah Jazz free agency: 3 guards to complete the rotation

Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
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Possible Utah Jazz addition: Frank Ntilikina

Do you want the good news first, or the bad news first? Either way, here’s the bad news:

Frank Ntilikina’s offensive value is almost zero.

Last season, under notoriously bullish Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, Ntilikina saw his minutes per game plummet, from 20.8 per game to 9.8. Now, with the Knicks declining to extend the young Frenchman a qualifying offer, Ntilikina is set to venture into unrestricted Free Agency.

The Utah Jazz should consider offering Ntilikina a home. At 6’4 with a 7’1 wingspan, Frankie Smokes has been a disruptive defender since he arrived in the NBA. He reinforced that fact last season with a 2.2 Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DBPM) and 2 steals per 36 minutes.

Furthermore, in the meager 9.8 minutes per game he saw the floor last season, Ntilikina showed some encouraging signs of offensive development. His 47.9% shooting from three-point range on 1.5 attempts per game demands a double take to confirm. It’s so far off his 30.8% mark during his first 3 seasons that one has to wonder whether it’s sustainable.

Still, Ntilikina is 23-years-old. Improvement is not only desirable, but expected, at this stage in the young point guard’s career. Having spent the first four years of his career burdened by the expectations of a lottery pick playing in Madison Square Garden, Ntilikina may benefit from playing for a small-market contender like the Utah Jazz.

Meanwhile, even if his three-point shooting regresses, the Jazz can benefit from the presence of a low-usage, high-caliber defender as the fourth guard in their rotation.