...it also should be mentioned that he has been on the floor for 17% of the total season minutes. There is probably a more impressive metric, such as the percentage of points that he has provide either directly or via an assist or the drop in production when he is off the court.
The Stauskas Effect.
I will be the first to admit that I've been as critical about Nik Stauskas as anyone. I questioned his ability to combat athletic on ball defense. I questioned his short area quickness and his consistency. I also cringed watching him defend other elite wings. Nik Stauskas is not a finished product....but I'll be damned if he is not the Player of The Year in the B1G. This kid has shown such tremendous growth in just a year's time. He has transformed from a corner shooter to a playmaking offensive machine. Nik Stauskas has answered the bell and his contributions this season have spearheaded the best conference run in recent Michigan History.
I'd like to bounce some ideas off of my fellow Michigan enthusiasts of which I'm referring to as the Stauskas Effect. There are several chain reaction events that I have identified and have attributed to the development of Nik Stauskas's game. These are opinions and this post is meant to spark positive conversation so please chime in!
The Stauskas Effect:
1. Led to the Pressure-Less development of Caris Levert in a sort of Robin-like role to Nik's Batman. Caris has been able to ease into the #2 scorer role without the pressure of the opposition's top defender. This will be huge next season as Caris may be a #1 option.
2. Nik's development has also lessened the pressure to rush Zak Irvin into the fold which likely makes Zak a 3-4 year player all while allowing Zak to have substantial contributions this season. I see a lot of Nik in Zak and I believe that Zak is in for a huge jump next season. Caris Levert's assertion offensively and GR3+ The Beast hopefully returning will still render Zak a 3rd or 4th scoring option....which means hes sticks around a few years :) This also means that DJ Wilson and Kameron Chatman will have time to develop behind Irvin and Walton which will allow for seemless changing of the guards leadership wise over the next 4 years of Michigan Basketball. This is truly huge and does NOT happen if Nik doesn't morph into the POY candidate that he is. His development has added years onto Zak.....GR3...Walton .and likely Chatman's career.
3. Nik's 1v1 ability has also lessened the pressure of Derrick Walton's development due to Nik's ability to create and the rate in which we give Nik the rock at the top of the key. Walton has been able to play off of Nik and hasn't had to face the oppostion's best defenders as a result. This has allowed Walton to avoid being thrown into the fire so to speak and will pay dividends down the road. (Spike is also due much credit for easing Walton in)
4. The Internationa (Stauskas)l Effect. Nik is Canadian...duh. It's one thing to claim that your a world wide recruting program. It's another to take an underrated kid from Canada and develop him to Stardom in the Nation's toughest conference. Belein has done just that. Somewhere there is an underrated Canadian...or Australian...or British kid with a world of talent just waiting to be tapped into. He will be approached by a few universities that will promise the world. When Michigan comes calling....he will have a real life example to follow and believe in. Canada is an untapped gold mine that is just waiting to flourish. Nik has opened the flood gates for future Canadian athletes in Ann Arbor amongst other nations.
5. The Re-inforcement of "Michigan Swag". Michigan has been known for having players in the past that had a little spice in their game. Players that were better than you and they let you know about it with demonstrative gestures and maybe even a little jaw-jacking. Some purists may not prefer this type of behavior and to each his own. Nik Stauskas has "Swag". He plays with a chip and an extra bounce. He makes being a "Shooter" cool...even though we now know he is much more than just a shooter. Nik is what we used to call on the playground, "a Bad Ass White Boy". I think Nik has taken right where Tim and Trey left off and carried the load as the Michigan Star player. He had a Februrary lull but has really picked it up. I think kids that watch Nik will gravitate to our program because at Michigan you can be a Scholar Athlete of the highest caliber and look damn good doing it. A lot of people not in tune with the 16-22 year old mindframe may disagree....but "Swag" is important especially in recruiting. Nik has it and has made us look damn good this season. Luke Kennard is a name that I would watch going forward....he is the perfect example of a kid that could replicate Nik's game in college. (and not just because he is white)
6. Nik's probable B1G Player of the year award will cement Michigan as a guard/wing hot bed in the Midwest and start to pay even bigger dividends on the recruiting trail. Manny....Darius...Trey....Tim...now Nik in just the past 4 years. We are putting elite NBA talent out year after year and it's going to get noticed. Tim and Trey last year could be looked at as a rare output. Not with Nik following up their departure in as grand a fashion as this. We are approaching Guard U status....at least as far as the Midwest is concerned.
I'll be honest with you...I think Nik Stauskas goes pro. He is a top 20 pick and despite his defensive inability and need for additional strength....he is still a solid 1st round draft pick. Another year could make him a lottery lock and folk hero in Ann Arbor to the Nth degree......but I just don't think we're going to be that lucky.. I'd love to be wrong.
talk about the Stauskas effect without first talking about the Beilein effect. His ability to find the guys with a brain and passion for the game and then grow them is phenomenal. Add to that his ability to modify his offense to fit the talent he has. After 4-5 years of being a PG-centric offense the 2013-14 team shifted almost seamlessly.
As for Stauskas, I have been most impressed by his recent play. He has gone from "pretty boy" offense to toughness...willing to fight for his spot and shot and then able to make contested shots.
We are talking three years in a row in which it could be argued that the top guard in the country was a different Michigan player. Yes, it is arguable that Nik is the top guard this year nationally. A B1G POY is in that conversation. Yes, I'm making the jump next year with Caris, but from what we've seen, I think he will be the pre-season favorite for B1G POY. He ranks in the top 20 of the B1G in eight different stats. The boy can play. It'll be fun to see how he continues to grow.
And all of this is to say that YES, we are now the new GUARD UNIVERSITY. If you were a top high school guard in America, you would be highly foolish to not consider going to UM.
...other sophomores that will be above Caris for preseason poy if they return, namely Harris and Pettaway.
There were probably 3-4 times at least last night where he only half put up a hand or didn't at all, even though he was in decent position to at least bother a shot. LeVert does it at times as well. I don't know if they're too worried about fouling a jump shooter or what, but teams are getting clean looks because of half hearted close-outs or on ball defense when a shooter rises up.
That said, none of that mattered last night. Michigan couldn't miss, Illinois couldn't buy a bucket, and Michigan is outright B1G champs. When this offense moves the ball and doesn't over dribble, there are just so many people that can make you pay for leaving them open. And Nik has proven this year that often times he doesn't even need to be open to hit big shots. Also like that GRIII seems to be rounding into form at the right time.
I agree about this with both Nik and Caris. And it has been mentioned so many times about the defenders who are covering Nik and Caris.
But that is all sort of foolish talk.
Any good defender will put his hands up at any time that he is able. The problem is that playing D on the perimeter against a quick offensive player makes playing with your hands up very very difficult. Hands up and also standing tall enough is what stops the 3 point shot. The physics, however, mean that to explode left or right for a quick defensive hop or long step to cut someone driving to the basket means that your arm needs to come down and your lower body needs to contract and then explode.... (he's probably already driven past you). That's why arms to the side and keeping your eyes lower than thae chin of the offensive player is the standard defensive posture. It's all physics of energy and motion.
This is not a defensive dicipline issue (usually), it is a defensive athleticism issue. And as athletic as Caris or GRIII are, they are not terrible quick laterally - they still have issues with on-ball hands-up defense. The great defenders can play quick laterally while they keep their hands up. They can body the offensive player so that he can't get that quick first step.
But that is also why Caris and Nik are so unstoppable on offense - they can shoot over you, and as soon as you try to stop that, they can drive around you.
(HS basketball coach)
It's when shooters rise up and commit to the shot. The arm needs to shoot up through the shooters sight line to the basket. It frustrates me more on close-outs or when fighting through screens, because that's when I see them kind of half-raise their hand instead of extend it, but I just remember last night one time Nik actually forcing a shooter to pull up in the lane rather than getting all the way to the basket, they both jumped, but for whatever reason Nik just kind of kept his hand down. He has the length to contest shots at least. LeVert as well.
On ball defense I think they just let players into the middle too easily, which goes back to what you're talking about with lateral quickness. Then that starts the need for help defense which puts the defense behind the ball and allows for the other team's offense to find open looks. I don't know enough about basketball to know all the different strategies, but I know in my high school days we always tried to pin the offense to the sideline and prevent them from rotating the ball. It seems like Michigan is almost forcing them into the middle in hopes of help, but they aren't quick enough to stop penetration and that kills them. But that's just observation without much knowledge to actually back it up.
You look at how he transformed his body, the before and after pictures are amazing, and how he worked on weaknesses to improve his game. You have to give tremendous credit to the coaches and to Nik. I guess you have to wonder how much of it actually goes back to the Burke effect because he made the amazing transformation also. Anyone who is willing to work to get to the top has to look at this program and want to be part of it.
I think who goes pro is going to depend a lot on the tournament. If these guys play great, we could lose several players. That would also likely mean we have another deep tournament run. If they don't, we have a lot of very talented players who will likely work hard again this summer and be much better come fall. It's really no lose but I'm hoping for the former. I think that benefitss the players and UM the most in the long run.
Credit needs to go to Beilein for finding these guys and seeing the heart and determination. It's amazing how he has done this with basically 3 star players who have developed dramatically during their careers.
That's more important for future recruiting than anything else!
I love how many times he hushed those bum Illinois students who were chanting the now cliché "USA USA USA" chant. Clearly the people who do that do not understand that those chants only fuel Nik more. Seriously...how many times did Nik drain a three right in front of them and then stare them down after? It was awesome.
I did not think I would like this post. I did
With a better shot...
But better off the dribble.
1. Adreian Payne is 23 and looking to go mid lottery. McGary will not be affected by age.
2. We can afford to lose all 3 sophomores and still be good
Walton-LeVert-Irvin-Chatman-Donnal Spike,Horford is a solid squad
3. LeVert is a significantly better defender than Nik or GR3. Some of these comments have to be jokes. Deuce2Sports, Sports Reference and UMhoops all confirm this...
4. I think Nik projects to be more of a Mike Miller player than Reggie Miller or Ray Allen. Those last two guys are in another tier athletically. Gordon Hayward is 6'8'' and averaged 1 bpg and a ton of steals in college.
- Payne would likely go higher if he was the type of player he was and was a FR or SO. Just because he's still going mid-to-late lottery, doesn't mean that age didn't play a role. McGary's back issue, combined with his age, could be an additional problem.
- Still solid, I agree. But you are now relying on young players again, which is an added risk.
- Did anyone mention that LeVert wasn't a better defender than Nik or GRIII in this thread? I just looked back over every post in this thread and don't see one instance where anyone said that. No one is claiming Nik is a better defender, or even a good defender. He needs work. There is talk that LeVert isn't a great defender, nor is GRIII, but no one says they are worse than Nik. Not sure what point you're trying to make here.
- Agree with this point. Both Miller and Allen were more athletic and better moving without the ball. I think JJ Redick is a fairly good comparison as well.
I agree with your points. The chain reaction stuff is especially true. Stauskas' emergence and development/evolution has really allowed the other guys-- especially Caris and Zak Irvin-- to develop at a natural rate and has taken pressure off of them. Also, this team seems to be peaking at the right time.
To me, the question Nick will ask himself this spring/summer is "what's the value-added of another season in AA"?
That's not a question GRIII will ask. Just to watch him play, with his natural abilities, his NBA-ready body, and his high upside, he's a goner. Mitch is a goner as well, even if this summer/fall he spends time in the D-league to get himself back into top form. Easier to do that while collecting a paycheck than staying on campus, hoarding pocket money, and balancing books and hoops.
But Nick will have to decide whether another year of college ball will improve his draft status to the point that it will pay off in terms of signing bonus, salary, and contract guarantees. The upcoming tournaments and of course what the NBA gurus say about where he will go in the draft will have great bearing on how that question's answered.
Back in the day I had the good fortune to have lower-bowl seats in the southwest corner of Crisler during the Fab Five era. I remember watching Chris Weber and saying to my wholly uneducated BB self that Chris played at a higher level than almost everyone else on the court. After two years as a BB player at Michigan he had nothing else to prove and few if any ways in which he could improve as a college player. So he left. Juwan and Jalen followed a year later, as I recall. Wikipedia says Jalen was selected 13th in the first round of the 1994 draft.
I think Nick could also benefit from another year on campus. For one thing, people speak of his defense --- or lack thereof; he could work on that. Anyway, I don't see Nick as a Chris Weber, a GRIII, or the Naismith-winning Trey Burke. I see him more as a Jalen Rose, who clearly benefited from a third year playing college ball.
I think Nik has the most NBA ready game out of our Big 3. GR3 still needs work IMO before he leaves AA. Mitch is a virtual unknown and is a huge risk to leave. All could benefit from one more year. I hope at least 2 of 3 return. ..3 of 3 would be Christmas. Either way....The effects will resonate. I don't see how we don't get Jalen Brunson...Jalen Coleman and or Luke Kennard. I would really like to see a Diamond Stone discover the Michigan difference too. Belein is going to have in us in the hunt for a long time.
It doesn't matter if they'd become better players by staying in college or anything else. The only thing that matters is where theyre told they'll be drafted. If the NBA wants them in the first round, for whatever reason, they should go and probably will, if not, they should stay. It's that simple.
I agree with others here that Nik was never "just a shooter." Last year, he showed his ability to drive and create but that was not his role with Trey and THJ around. And I don't think Nik's success is a product of "player development" by Beilein and his staff but innate talent. After seeing some recruiting film and youtube video of Nik before he got here, I was convinced he was underrated and would eventually be in the NBA. Nik is an example of Beilein's ability to identify unusual talent rather than develop it. But Beilein does provide the proper environment for talent to fully blossom.