NEW YORK — The New York Knicks have chosen Frank Ntilikina with No. 8 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Despite rumors of possibly trading their franchise cornerstone Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks president Phil Jackson picked the French point guard to bolster the team’s youth movement.
Jackson wanted the 6-foot-5-inch Ntilikina because of his 7-foot plus wingspan and defensive presence after the Knicks finished with a 31-51 record and missed the playoffs the fourth straight season.
“(Ntilikina) plays the role well. He’s a good role player. I think he’s a good fit for us,” Jackson said. “The big thing we liked about him is he’s got size. Our game is really about length and about activity.”
The 18-year-old international prospect plays for the French club Strasbourg currently in the middle of the French League Finals.
“What I will bring to the Knicks, actually is a lot of hope,” Ntilikina said after being drafted. “I think I’m a player who will trust the process, work hard and definitely try to be the best player I can be who will give energy. I think I’m a team point guard and shooting guard. I’ll just try to make my teammates be better every day. And I think I can play defense too.”
The Knicks also drafted guards Damyean Dotson, Ognjen Jaramaz in the second round.