Drafted by: Sacramento Kings, No. 8 overall
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 207 lbs
Age: 20 years old
Projected NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Pro Comparison: Klay Thompson
Twitter Handle: @NStauskas11
Although Nik Stauskas played a key role on Michigan's 2012-13 Final Four team as a freshman, he didn't climb up draft boards until he became a sophomore star in 2013-14.
The 6'6" shooter from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, turned from a spot-up shooter into the Big Ten Player of the Year. His superb court awareness and scoring touch are highly valued among NBA coaches and front offices.
After two strong seasons at the college level, he's ready to prove he can shine on the wing in the Association. With his size, elite shooting talent and feel for the game, he's going to give opposing defenses fits.
He may not be a superstar in the NBA, but he's going to be a dangerous asset who can do damage in several areas.
|Statistics at Michigan|
Standing 6'5.25" in socks, Stauskas has an ideal stature for an NBA shooting guard.
His wingspan is not otherworldly, but 6'7.75" will do the trick. And as we learned at the combine, his athleticism is respectable as well.
Perhaps more notable was the lateral quickness he showed off during the lane-agility test. His 10.79-second mark is a great number for someone his size, and it indicates he could avoid being a total liability on the defensive end.
With these tools, Stauskas should be able to elevate for jumpers, attack the rim and compete horizontally in the backcourt.
He's far from a one-dimensional player these days, but Stauskas' biggest weapon entering the Association is his perimeter shooting touch.
Not only did he sink 172 triples in just two seasons at Michigan, but he shot at least 44 percent from three-point range in both campaigns. He displays ample elevation, magnificent form and a quick release on his jumper.
Stauskas is lethal as a catch-and-shoot gunner, as he torches defenses if they give him too much room. However, he can also drill jumpers off the bounce, whether he's creating a step-back or dribbling off a screen.
NBA defenses will constantly have to keep track of him, because he possesses the range to connect from anywhere on the floor.
Slashing and Facilitating Skills
As a sophomore, Stauskas stepped into a more prominent role on the Wolverines, and he used the opportunity to showcase his ability to handle the rock.
He proved he can attack off the dribble and slash all the way to the hoop or find mid-range pockets. It adds another dimension to his scoring repertoire, and it drastically improves his appeal as an NBA prospect. According to Hoop-Math.com, only 34.6 percent of his rim attacks were assisted, and only 24.4 percent of his mid-range jumpers were assisted. In other words, he can create.
Stauskas also uses his ball-handling ability and tremendous court awareness to make plays for his teammates. He dished 3.3 assists in 2013-14, and he might be able to play some combo guard as a pro.
Watch him play quarterback against Minnesota, as he tosses an alley-oop, manipulates the pick-and-roll (0:56) and smoothly drives and dishes (2:32).
His high basketball IQ and tremendous five-on-five instincts shouldn't be underestimated moving forward. His squad will be able to utilize his slashing ability on the wing, and it'll also trust Stauskas to take the reins, initiating the offense intermittently.
Although Stauskas posted a quick time during the lane-agility drill at the combine, it doesn't automatically mean he'll be a good perimeter defender.
The reality is he was an underwhelming stopper in college, often unable to keep his foes in front of him.
Draft Express video analyst Mike Schmitz explained that Stauskas "struggles containing penetration against stronger, quicker guards.
So what does that mean for him in the NBA? He's going to have to improve his foot speed and become as sharp and alert as possible when checking playmakers.
He'll undoubtedly struggle, so at this point it's about limiting the damage and maximizing his angle and position.
Due to his shooting skills, Stauskas will be able to compete as a secondary scoring option as soon as he enters the league. Depending on the talent in the rotation, he could start or see substantial minutes off the bench.
His size and smarts will help him find offensive chances, although he's not going to create and slash to the rim as much as he did in college.
Stauskas is one of the more NBA-ready players in the 2014 class, and his ceiling isn't incredibly distant.
Once he gets a feel for the pro style and sharpens his handle a little more, he'll go from scoring 10-12 per game to 16-18 in just a couple of seasons.
Much like Golden State Warriors gunner Klay Thompson, Stauskas will take advantage of every crease of daylight to get his shot off. He could eventually be the second or third scorer on his club, and he may post more assists than Thompson.
If his club is able to make the most of his talents on and off the ball, he may become a star.
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