SI Article on Nik Stauskas

Submitted by Marley Nowell on June 3rd, 2014 at 1:24 PM…

Good article talking about Nik's ascendance from Canadian kid to potential lottery pick.  There were quite a few interesting facts about him that I have not heard/read before:

  • Watched tape of Steph Curry while at Michigan to learn techniques for ball handling
  • He is defying his genes as his Father is only 6' and a computer programmer, as is his brother
  • Became a basketball fan at 7 when Toronto got the Raptors
  • "When he was 10, Nik was called down to the court during an open practice at Air Canada Centre and got to play two-on-two against Carter, surprising his idol by swishing a three."
  • At age 12 his Father remade his shot to the near perfection we enjoyed

I guess I shouldn't be surprised but by NBA draft outlets he is being compared to Jason Kapono and Kyle Korver.  These are absurd comparisons that are purely based on skin color because he is much more athletic.  Also something that is often overlooked in his shooting prowess is his ability to shoot 3's BOTH off the dribble as well as in catch and shoot situations.  Most players, even our beloved Trey Burke, have only shown the ability to do one of those very well, but not both.  Nik is going to be an excellent scorer in the NBA, is smart enough to function in an NBA defensive scheme, and will quickly become a top SG (the weakest position group) in short order.




June 3rd, 2014 at 1:38 PM ^

I guess it depends on what you mean by "top SG." I think he can start in the NBA, but I don't see him being a superstar. Maybe I'm wrong, and I hope I am. I just kind of picture him as a good sixth man (Jamal Crawford?) or a role player on a good team.

Avon Barksdale

June 3rd, 2014 at 1:49 PM ^

It's really tough to compare him, because I don't think his game really resembles anyone. He is 6'6, is an 80/40% type in respect to FT and 3pt percentage, plays respectable defense (meaning he can finally stay in front of guys,) and can score off the dribble, pick and roll, or spot up and shoot from every location on the court. It's hard to find someone that fits all those traits.

He will be a liability on defense depending the matchup, but his scoring ability will keep him in a starting lineup for a long time if I had to guess.


June 3rd, 2014 at 2:21 PM ^

I apologize for making an off topic reply that addresses the content of your post rather than its up/downvote merits, but I think sixth man is selling him short.

I agree that he isn't a likely superstar, but I think that he a nearly guaranteed starter based on the extreme value the NBA places on shooting these days.  Any team with a strong penetrator or scoring big man needs shooters to spread the floor, and there are ways to cover a mediocre to bad defender. 


The Denarding

June 4th, 2014 at 3:53 AM ^

Jamal Crawford can't pass - off the pick and roll or in transition or in basic sets even. I think stauskas is going to be far better than people give him credit for because of his pick and roll passing ability. He creates his own three point offense at 6'6! That's honestly, even in college, unheard of - plus he can pass off that creation.

The argument of athletic twos being his kryptonite is a legitimate fear. The Tennessee game showcased that but again he can pass really effectively out of those sets. He will be far better than people think in the pros.


June 3rd, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

"When he was 10, Nik was called down to the court during an open practice at Air Canada Centre and got to play two-on-two against Carter, surprising his idol by swishing a three. In return, Carter tackled Stauskas and gave him a noogie."

I had to chuckle at that for some reason, perhaps because I am fairly sure that they wouldn't call that if it were the Heat. 

The mention of the contest that was proposed between Stauskas and Curry reminded me of how cool that probably would have been, mainly because I also believe that Nik might have been pretty competitive indeed. I have no doubt he is going to be one of the guys who is tracked heavily as he goes through the summer and prepares for his rookie NBA season - I think he could be a lot of fun to watch in the pros too. 


June 3rd, 2014 at 1:47 PM ^

I agree that the comparisons are probably based on his skin color but Jason Kapono was pretty athletic. His overall game actually reminds me alot of Ginobli and Belineli because he can make plays off the pick and roll for himself or teammates


June 3rd, 2014 at 2:48 PM ^

but he isn't as big as either guy and isn't the shooter that Korver is.  He's a guard, stricktly, IMO.  The most common comp I've heard is JJ Redick, which seems fair.  Like Redick, Nik has better athleticism than some give him credit for, but mostly he is a skilled smart player that maximizes his abilities.  Kerry Kittles is another guy that comes to my mind because he could shoot or drive and passed a bit.

I don't think it's really a race thing.  Nik is a slow-footed shooter - which makes people think of other players like that.  Some of those guys are white. 

The difference is that Nik has handle, solid passing ability, and is, generally a well-rounded scorer.  It remains to be seen if he can guard anyone at the NBA level, beat NBA defenders off the dribble, or that he'll be a dangerous enough shooter to offset the (presummed) defensive deficiencies teams will have to live with.

Like a lot of players, I think it's important where he lands because his game has holes that won't fit well in every team, no matter how good his shooting is.


June 4th, 2014 at 10:54 AM ^

I love me some Nik but c'mon.  If Nik is half the NBA player Ginobli has been I will be happy.

His ball handling and ability to get his own shot won't be so evident in the Association.  I see a J.J. Redick type.  Great shooter.  Capable ball handler.  More athletic than most people realize but he's making his money with his quick shot off teammates ball penetration and/or moving without the ball.


June 3rd, 2014 at 2:20 PM ^

Remind you of anyone?



The 2nd leading 3-point shooter in NBA history, behindReggie Miller. Possesses one of the prettiest strokes in the entire league, complete with effortless mechanics, beautiful follow-through, deep range, and outstanding touch. Excellent shooter from a stand-still, but also very much capable of knocking down contested shots with a hand in his face—actually excels doing so. Outstanding moving off the ball and using screens. Smooth player who can handle the ball equally well with either hand. Uses the threat of his shot extremely well to create shots for himself inside the arc. Not just a 3-point shooter. Takes what defenses give him. Can drive to the rim left or right, but tends to pull-up when driving left. Has an outstanding mid-range game. Excellent at pulling up off the dribble. Not a great finisher due to average strength, but gets to free throw line at a solid rate thanks to his craftiness and aggressiveness, and knocks down his shots at a 90%+ clip. Very good passer, not selfish in the least bit. Extremely efficient. Very mistake-free. Just an average athlete in terms of his first step and overall explosiveness, making him best suited as a second or third option.


June 3rd, 2014 at 3:21 PM ^

Ray was a pretty great all-around player in his prime with the sonics.  Steals aren't the ultimate indicator of defense, but he had a pretty impressive steal rate for a while and was generally not considered a liability until he got older.  Even now he's not TERRIBLE.

He is listed at 6'5, an inch below Nik and Nik has pretty short arms.

Ray was an amazing player. I think people forget this now that he's a specialist and role-player for the Heat, but he was one of the best in the league before moving to Boston.  He was also the best player in college at UConn and put up some pretty eye-popping stats. Nik's a couple notches down from Ray, no matter how you look at it.  But Ray is a good guy for Nik to watch and emulate.


June 3rd, 2014 at 3:43 PM ^

a quarter inch shorter than Ray.  I think 32-34 year old Ray Allen is Nik's cieling. Decent defense, 18-20 points a game with a good true shooting percentage, and around 4 assists a game. Maybe a 3rd all-star on a really good team or a very good player on average team. 

And if you are picking 10-15 and you get a guy who will be an above average starter and might make and all star game or two you have done very well for yourself. 


June 3rd, 2014 at 4:23 PM ^

Yes, thank you.  People forget how amazing Jesus Shuttlesworth was in the late 90s early-mid 00s.  Not only has he always been a great shooter, but the guy was an above avg. finisher at the rim for a guard.  I think he was even in a dunk contest (may have won?).  Nik is several rungs below young Ray Allen as an athlete.

Someone said Kerry Kittles above, that definitely makes sense as a comparison.  Another "non-racist" comparison could be Rip Hamilton (as a ceiling), or Wally Szcerbiak (although he was a bit bigger), or even someone like Joseph Forte (to be pessimistic), Aaron Aflalo, or Joe Johnson.

His ceiling is not a superstar, unfortunately he doesn't have the raw athleticism to take over games by himself.  That said, a 15-20 ppg scorer that can avg around 5 reb and 5 assists as a second guy on a bad team or third guy on a good to great team is nothing to sneeze at.


June 3rd, 2014 at 2:57 PM ^

Stauskas will be the best of current Michigan NBA players. He has a complete offensive game combined with drive and intelligence. I give him a slight edge on Burke only due to height which is a plus for Nik and a minus for Trey. So I think he'll be a starter and likely all star at some point. Like Trey, he is a uniquely intelligent, driven and skilled player. At risk of being non PC, I think scouts have typically underrated him due to his skin color. When I saw his tapes as a high schooler, I couldn't believe he wasn't ranked much higher (at least top 30). Even then, I thought he was going to end up in the NBA.


June 3rd, 2014 at 6:28 PM ^

Good article talking about Nik's ascendance from Canadian kid to potential lottery pick.

I would hope that being drafted as a lottery pick doesn't mean that he can no longer be Canadian.