Evaluating Frank Ntilikina, Kostja Mushidi, and Others Again

February 6, 2017

By Alan Lu

I wanted to take the opportunity to watch another Frank Ntilikina game online, as he played quite well the first time I was able to scout him.  With thanks to YouTube via Basketball Champions League, I was able to get the chance to see him play in a Basketball Champions League match that occurred between Strasburg and Mega Vizura in a game that was played on January 11th. Here are my thoughts on how Ntilikina, and other various prospects fared on this day, as well as how they may rate as prospects for the 2017 NBA Draft.

Strasbourg’s 6-5 point guard, Frank Ntilikina is a speedy playmaker that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  In this game, he was at his best when he was looking to score off the dribble, as he showed a deft ability to do so off of floaters.  Ntilikina has very good speed, quickness, and ball handling skills, and he showed off solid shooting touch to make baskets when he was in the paint.

But he struggled to make shots consistently.  Ntilikina did make a fast pull-up jumper after quickly dribbling down court on one possession, and he also made a nifty pull-up three after dribbling off of a screen.  He did shoot the ball very well off the dribble late in the game.   However, he struggled to knock down jumpers early on, and he couldn’t get his jump shot to fall earlier.

Also, he displayed average playmaking skills at best in this game.  Ntilikina did collect several assists, as he generally threw solid interior passes, and he had one nifty assist late in the game, as he dribbled around, and patiently threw a behind the back pass to find a shooter to set up a three for his team.  However, he tended to make hasty passes, and he also struggled to protect the basketball on occasion.

He did not rebound the basketball very well, but he did grab an offensive rebound once in this game.  Ntilikina also showcased good defensive skills.  He brought heavy ball pressure, and he showed a knack to jump passes to collect steals.  Also, Ntilikina would use his length to force misses.  However, he also tended to commit touch fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

In general, Frank Ntilikina did not play as well as he did in his first game against Mega Vizura, but in his second game against them, he still was able to showcase his skills.  Ntilikina is a speedy point guard that could potentially thrive in the NBA offensively, as long as he plays under control and consistently makes his jump shots.  He also looks to be a solid defender, as his length, and ability to play passing lanes could make it tough on his opponents.  With his skill set, Ntilikina could potentially be a solid pick for a team in the mid to late first round range of the upcoming draft.

Mega Vizura’s 6-5 combo guard, Kostja Mushidi put forth a fairly good showing as he helped lead his team to a win over Strasbourg.  He showed off versatile scoring skills as he also played unselfishly, and he also defended well in this contest.

Mushidi showed off adequate shooting skills.  He can make threes both off the catch as well as off the dribble, and he has great range on his shot.  He can knock down outside shots in a hurry, as this can provide a boost for his team.  However, Mushidi can also be very streaky with his jump shot, as he went into a shooting slump from beyond the arc late in the game.  He also excelled at scoring off the dribble.  Mushidi is a solid athlete that handles the ball well, and he managed to draw plenty of free throws and also score on fast break drives to the hoop.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  For the positives, Mushidi is an unselfish player that would generally look for the open man, and on one such play, he found an open teammate on a give and go to set up a fast break score.  However, he tended to make hasty, inaccurate passes at times, and he also struggled to make passes when his teammates were having trouble getting open.

Mushidi showed a willingness to crash the glass, as he was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.  He also defended well, as he has great quickness and anticipation skills to jump passes to collect steals, and he will use his length to contest shots in order to force misses.  However, there were times where he would over-rotate, which lead him to commit fouls or allow scores.

In summary, Kostja Mushidi showed a wide range of skills in his team’s victory over Strasbourg.  He is a versatile player that can do a little bit of everything, but he will need to be a more consistently productive performer when he is on the floor.  With his skill set, he could be a good pick for a team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Mega Vizura’s 6-8 forward, Vlatko Cancar played very well in his team’s win over Strasbourg.  He really excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball, and he also rebounded well to help get his team the victory.  Cancar did a great job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He really excelled at making spot up threes off the catch, and he also showed a deft ability to score on pick and pop plays.  Also, he was able to make a baseline, pull-up, mid-range jumper.

He also excelled at getting scores in the paint.  Cancar did a very good job of drawing free throws and scoring off of offensive rebounds, and he also managed to score on a very quick, backdoor cut to the hoop.  He also managed to draw free throws on a quick drive to the basket on another occasion.

Plus, he also showed off fairly good playmaking skills.  Cancar is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass, and he has good court vision, as he can kick it out to shooters off the dribble to set up scores.  However, he struggled to protect the basketball a couple of times, which led him to commit turnovers.  Also, Cancar did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, as he was able to haul in numerous boards for his team.  He would quickly leap up to collect rebounds in traffic, and he was also active as a scorer off of offensive rebounds.
Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  For the positives, he helped jar a ball loose when defending the post to almost get a steal, and he also would use his length to contest shots and force misses.  However, he lacks elite lateral quickness to defend quicker players, as this can lead him to committing fouls and allowing scores as a result.

Overall, Vlatko Cancar played a terrific game, as he was virtually unstoppable whenever he elected to shoot the basketball on offense.  He is a gifted shooter that can score in a variety of ways, and he also can contribute as a playmaker and rebounder for his team.  He may not have much draft buzz right now, but he could be a potential first round pick sometime in the future.

Mega Vizura’s center, Alpha Kaba also had a good game, as he helped lead his team to a narrow victory over Strasbourg.  He excelled as an inside scorer, rebounder, and defender when he was on the floor, and he could end up being a late first to second round pick for the upcoming draft.  Kaba showed a solid ability to score in the paint.  He is a very athletic, big man that excels at scoring on the move, and he can get buckets on rolls and cuts to the basket.  On one such play, he was able to throw down a thunderous dunk after getting the ball on a quick cut to the hoop.    As he especially excels at scoring on hustle plays, he also showed a knack for getting scores on put backs as well.   In addition, Kaba was able to score in the post on a close-range jumper.

But he displayed below average playmaking skills.  Kaba did play unselfishly, and he showed a willingness to find the open man.  However, he had trouble protecting the basketball, and he also threw a long outlet pass on an inbounds play that was intercepted on a separate offensive possession.  Kaba also showed off solid rebounding skills.  He displayed a strong ability to get offensive rebounds, as he would find ways to score off of them, and he also is a long and athletic big man that would leap up to haul in numerous defensive boards.

He also showed off adequate defensive skills.  Kaba was active as an interior defender in the paint, as he would cut off penetration on drives to force passes, and he would alter shots to force misses.  Plus, he has solid length, quickness, and anticipation skills, as he would play passing lanes to get deflections and steals for his team.  However, he occasionally showed lapses defensively, as he would at times over-rotate or commit a reach-in foul.  Also, he tended to hang back too far off of his man, as he would allow his man to knock down wide-open jumpers.

Right now, Alpha Kaba looks to be a second round prospect, though he may have an outside chance to maybe crack the first round.  He is a very athletic big man that can provide points and rebounds in the paint.  He is a very good rebounder, and he also has the potential to excel defensively.

On the other hand, Kaba will still need to improve his jumper, and he must show that he can consistently create his own shot.  He also does not block many shots for a player that is as tall and athletic as he is.  But still, he has an intriguing set of skills that could allow him to be a solid role player in the NBA.

Mega Vizura’s 6-4 combo guard, Ognjen Jaramaz did not have a great game, as he struggled to make shots efficiently, and he really had trouble knocking down jumpers.  Jaramaz did show an adequate ability to garner scores off the dribble.  He is a fast, agile guard that can quickly get into the lane, as he was able to do so on several occasions.  On one such play, he threw down an emphatic dunk on a drive in transition.  However, Jarmaz struggled to score more when he would attempt shots in traffic.

However, he really had trouble knocking down jumpers in this game, in particular, from beyond the arc.  Jaramaz did make one quick open three off the catch.  But he failed to knock down numerous other three-point attempts, as he would tend to miss badly on them, and he had a penchant for throwing up off-balanced jumpers that would go astray.

Jaramaz did play unselfishly, and he appeared to showcase adequate playmaking skills.   He would generally find the open man to set up scoring chances for his team.  However, he tended to throw inaccurate passes in traffic, and he especially had trouble when he would face heavy ball pressure, as this would lead him to commit turnovers.

Jaramaz did not rebound the basketball very well in this game, though on one play, he did help save a ball to help his team collect a defensive board.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  He showed quick hands to help his team get steals, but he would have defensive lapses at times, and he also would be late on his rotations, which would allow his opponents to knock down jumpers.

In general, Ognjen Jaramaz did not have his best game, but he did show some skills in a win for his team.  He is a quick combo guard that can get numerous scores off the dribble, and he also is an active help defender.  But he is not a very good shooter, and he will need to show teams that he can play the point if he is asked to do so.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, as he may need to be a more consistently productive performer in games to improve his chances to be selected by an NBA team this year.

Overall, this was an opportunity to see Frank Ntilikina and numerous other prospects play in a competitive basketball game, as this was my second time seeing Ntilikina play this season.  Some of the prospects played well on this day, and others did not, but this game may be somewhat helpful in gauging where they may be at presently as overall players.