Stauskas interview and pros/cons of player decisions

Submitted by bballislife22 on April 4th, 2014 at 8:32 PM

Nik gave an interview today on Toronto-based 590 AM's "Tim and Sid Show", talking about his upcoming decision. The relevant part of the interview to Michigan fans is:

"I've been told by many people college is the best time of your life," he said. "With the team that we could possibly have coming back, just imagine the amount of fun I could have with those guys staying in school. That weighs heavy on you. At the same time, you look at the other side of things, playing in the NBA, a dream that I've always had and you look at the lifestyle you're going to live, you look at the money you're going to make, you look at the opportunities you'll be able to provide for yourself and your family, those are all things that weigh heavy on my mind. That's why it's become such a hard decision because there's so many pros and cons to each decision."…

I think we're all still in agreement even after this quote that he's at least 90% likely to leave, and maybe he should be. But I think it's kind of interesting to look at all of the different reasons why he should or should not go. I think it's more complex than people make it out to be. These are all relevant to Michigan fans over the next week or so, as many of these same scenarios are true for both Glenn and Mitch as they also make their decisions.

Why he/they should go pro:

- First and foremost, the possibility of injury. This could range anywhere from a short term injury that maybe throws his game off for a little while, to a season ending injury that would drop his draft stock quite a bit, or even an (extremely unlikely) career ending injury. This is a very real risk, as we saw firsthand with Mitch this season.

- Extra year of salary from the NBA. No matter how good you are in the NBA, there's a very limited amount of years that you're going to be able to make money off of playing basketball. You could argue that it's extremely important for kids to leave as soon as they have a good draft spot locked up to make sure that they aren't missing out on a year of salary.

- Possibility of lowering your draft stock by staying an extra year. We saw this happen with Glenn this past season. If you don't perform as well as you are expected to for most of the season, you start to slip a little in the prospect rankings. This also gives NBA scouts an extra year of tape to pick apart. I think that this reason is sort of neutralized in this particular situation however, with the thought that the 2014 draft is very deep and the 2015 draft probably not as deep.

- Possibility of experiencing immediate team success in the NBA. This is a small reason, but I guess Glenn and Mitch could be looking at their predicted draft positions (possibly end of the first round) and realizing that these are some of the best teams in the NBA and teams most likely to win championships early. However, they probably wouldn't be making much of an impact on these teams, and I seriously doubt this is a big factor at all in the decisions.

Why he/they should stay:

- The possibility of an absolutely awesome year next season, all the way around. From the probable team success, the possibilities of winning championship(s), and just having another year enjoying the college atmosphere, there's no doubt that it would be an unbelievable experience for all three of them if everything went right. Once in a lifetime type chance. I think we can all quickly imagine how crazy next year could potentially be for everyone.

- Improve your game/skills. Some people might say that you might not be able to improve your draft stock much more than it already is (especially Nik). This might be true, but all three of them definitely have PLENTY of room to improve upon in various aspects of their games, even if it doesn't necessarily translate to their draft stocks. There's always room to improve for college players... heck, there's always room to improve for even most of the best NBA players to improve. This would presumably help them be more able to hit the ground running when they eventually do get drafted and start playing.

- The possibility of improving your draft stock. This is obviously apparent for Glenn and Mitch, and would probably be a big part of the reason why they would come back if they choose to do so. But I think Nik could also easily improve his draft stock by staying, as well. It's looking like he's going to go somewhere around the 15 spot in this year's draft. If he came back, he would immediately become one of the frontrunners, if not THEE frontrunner, for National Player of the Year. I think it's unlikely that he'd ever go top 5, but I could definitely see him sliding somewhere around the 5-10 spots if he stayed, especially in a probably weaker draft than this year's. McDermott sure improved his stock this past year, based a lot upon the publicity of being probably the best offensive player in college basketball and being the Wooden Award winner.

- The possibility of actually making more money in the long run by staying. I think it's a common assumption that you will always make more money in the NBA the faster you go pro. This is definitely not always the case. Let's look at Glenn for example. Right now he's projected to go somewhere in the early 2nd round, with the possibility of making his way into the late first round with solid workouts. Let's put him at the #30 spot in this year's draft. According to the rookie pay scale (which can be found here (, by the end of Glenn's 3rd year in the league, he would have made $2,857,200. Now let's imagine Glenn staying next season, and improving his draft stock. In a weaker draft, I can easily see Glenn playing his way into the 15-20 range. Let's put him at #17 in the 2015 draft. After Glenn's first TWO seasons in the league (which remember, is the same time period as if he would have came out this year and played three years in the league), his total made salary would be $2,953,400. This is even more money than he would have made with the extra year in the league. You can also make the case that if Glenn came back to school for an extra year, he would be in a better position to succeed in the NBA, potentially giving him much better contracts after his first deal is up. Let's do the same exercise with Nik. Let's put him in the #15 spot in this season's draft, and the #7 spot in next year's draft. His total salary after his first three years in the league in the first scenario would be $4,847,000. His total salary after his first TWO years in the league in the second scenario would be $5,286,700. Again, you see more money in the second scenario, and also the better chance for future success in the NBA.


As you can see, it's quite the complicated decision. I think injuries really are the biggest factor here. If you could absolutely guarantee these guys that they wouldn't get injured, then the decision probably shifts towards coming back to school. Unfortunately, you can't do that. It's going to be interesting to see what these guys decide in the coming weeks. 



April 4th, 2014 at 8:42 PM ^

For the sake of his career I really hope he goes pro. Maize and Blue glasses aside, that really is the intelligent choice.

turd ferguson

April 4th, 2014 at 10:32 PM ^

I'll admit that I might be overreacting because most of your posts piss me off, but this is really stupid. I get the impression that most posters think that all that should matter to these guys is draft position and lifetime earnings. Being realistic, no matter what he decides, chances are that Nik Stauskas (or Burke, Hardaway, McGary, Robinson, etc.) will be extremely wealthy for most/all of his life. If you gave me a choice between being super-rich and getting three/four years of college at UM and being super-rich (even super-super-rich) and getting two years of college at UM, I'd personally take the former.

I'm not saying that Stauskas should do that, since I have no idea what's important to him... but you also don't have any idea. And it'd be totally reasonable for him to want to soak in college life (a one-time chance) for a little longer.


April 5th, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

For one, his dad said as much earlier in the season which Nik wisely downplayed.  His dad knows more than anyone what Nik is inclined to do.  College is fun and all, but he never mentioned getting a degree or the value of a Michigan education (that I know of).  All he needs is a financial advisor he can trust.  He already has the hot girlfriend.  What would you do?


April 4th, 2014 at 8:44 PM ^

Dude, that's a long post for something that really is going to come down to personal choice.

I hope they all chose what's best for themselves (not the fans or the program) and I will cheer for them to do well whatever jersey they are wearing next year.

Though, I think the thing that is the most overrated in these hypotheticals is the notion that players will improve on their game by staying.  While that's logical, what people ignore is that by turning pro you are immediately playing basketball as your job.  There's no practice restrictions, there's no classes.  You're playing ball all day everyday.  You're playing against guys that are more likely to push you than the scout team at Michigan. 

I think draftees improve more during the 4-5 months preceeding their rookie year than they would in an entire college season.

Nobody Likes a…

April 4th, 2014 at 9:03 PM ^

Thats not how it works. If he works and lives in America, as he is likely to do because the Raptors pick is too late, he likely will not have to pay Canadian taxes. He will likely make his home where he plays and claim his primary residence there and there will be very little in the way of Canadian investments to tie him to paying more than a small token of taxes in Canada.

Also there is a massive misconception about income taxes in Canada. At the highest bracket, the one he will surely inhabit as a pro it isn't that dissimilar. The difference is the lack of as many write offs. Thats said if he were to play in Califoronia, NYC, and Boston the tax burden would be roughly a wash.


April 5th, 2014 at 11:16 AM ^

Taxes in sports are paid per game played, so about half of annual salary will be taxed based on playing half your games at your home arena. The other half that would be taxed based on each game played at the state taxes of the away game. I'm sure there might be some loopholes too, I.e. I don't know if they don't travel to the away game due to injury, do they still pay that away tax since they didn't work there that day.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:00 PM ^

What I never understood us why everybody bases the going pro vs staying in school on draft slot. It should be about 2 scenarios. 1. Go pro and get a high draft slot and hope for the best. 2. Stay in school, become a better player (just look at Nik from 1 year ago) and increase longevity in the nba.

I'm sure he could go to the nba and be a high pick, but he will develop much more under Belein, than the nba


April 4th, 2014 at 9:12 PM ^

Why do you believe he would improve more 1 more year under John Beilein than he would in the NBA?

I could see that argument for a true freshman that has not played beyond HS ball, but do you really think the B10 player of the year will improve more by playing another year against players below his abilities or playing full time against players that will push him harder?


April 4th, 2014 at 9:18 PM ^

I think Beilein has already brought the best out of him as far as scouts are concerned. Obviously, he can shoot the lights out and this year he proved you have to respect his ability to get to the rim. Not much else to prove in the college game. Can he get better? Sure, but he has already done everything he needs to prove he can play at the next level.


April 4th, 2014 at 10:12 PM ^

NBA has rules that restrict defense from using zone to some extent plus the hand checking rule.  There's so much more spacing in NBA than in college that you have more room to operate offensively.  JB tries to maxmize spacing using his system while working under college rule and he has done a damn good job at it.


April 5th, 2014 at 11:42 AM ^

A player who is a lock for the first round and its 2-year minimum guaranteed contract is better off leaving.  An injury or a year that knocks the player down to second round status, where the contracts aren't guaranteed, can cost the player betweeen $2 million (last pick) and $9 million.

The problem is determining if a player really is a "lock"  to be picked in the first round. This year's deep draft is going to cause a lot of players to slip positions compared to next year.  

Draft Express, who are no better or worse than anyone else in predicting where players will go, has Nik  slotted at 16, which would make him $3 million, plus or minus 20%, over his first two years.  It appears that his parents are advising him to take the money.  I will never fault a young man for listening to his parents.

OTOH, Mitch McGary and GRIII are projected to go in the second round.  It would be a bad idea for either of them to leave. Either could propel himself into the mid first round with a great season at Michigan next year.  

GRIII wants the opportunity to play the 3; it seems a lot more likely next year.  A year of developing his outside shot further and an opportunity to showcase it would make him a ton of money and get him a lot closer to a degree.  

Mitch just needs to stay injury-free to make it back into the first round.  

I want to see both GRIII and Mitch come back.  We'll see what kind of advice they get.  


April 4th, 2014 at 9:01 PM ^

I hope these men make the best decision possible. I think all could make an NBA roster. I also think all could come back and dominate the universe together which would likely result in a 30 for 30 by ESPN for their astounding accolades. In all seriousness. ..All 3 can improve their games and draft stocks by coming back. Don't underestimate the love they have for Coach Belein either.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:06 PM ^

"Improve your game/skills."

Hate this argument.  It makes it sound like professional coaching, no need to take class, no limitation of amount of coaching per day, professional training, professional nutrition, etc means you won't improve your game skills in the pros.  He is a gym rat that won't have any limitations on his time in the pros so to think he will improve in college but not in the pros is wrong for Nik and 95% of players.



April 4th, 2014 at 9:26 PM ^

It's a valid point IF the skill improvement results in a jump in draft stock. Trey Burke "improved his skills" last year and it paid off.

But if it is stated for the purpose of becoming more skilled alone, it's a vacuous platitude made by someone who understandably wants one of their team's players to stay.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:33 PM ^

Even with Trey Burke I would disagree.

If anyone can stick with 1 club an entire year AND is mentally ready for the rigors of the NBA (i.e. without the social support system) they probably will develop more in the NBA. 

This assumes you are self motivated AND you are not the type of player who drifts from 10 day contract to 10 day contract.  So at this point purely from a career advice, your "job" in college if you want to be a NBA player is get to the point you are mentally ready, and show enough promise/development that you will stick with 1 team an entire year.  Obviously going in the first round helps that since teams are much more likely to cut their 2nd rounders. 

But even with Burke I find it hard to believe he would not have developed into an excellent player with a full year of pro coaching as opposed to college as a sophomore.  He just would never have been drafted as high if he had left after his freshman so risked not being one of those guys who stuck to a roster - he seemed far more mature mentally than a John Wall was when he came out.

Michael From TC

April 5th, 2014 at 3:47 AM ^

The idea that Glenn anD Mitch improve enough is a valid one...


Nik is a solid 1st rounder, the other 2, not so much.


Trey, wasnt a SOLID LOCK 1st rounder.


Him staying vaulted him from tweener to solid lock top 10


The difference between a late first round pick and 2nd round pick is teams cut or d-league 2nd round picks or sometimes they slip and dont get drafted.


If you are a solid first round pick you dont get the d-league treatment, you dont get the end of the bench and earn your time treatment - it is your job to lose from day 1.


Sure, the working your way up works for some people but almost everybody on an NBA roster could be serviceable. Look at Jeremy Lin for example, dominated D-league and played 10 day contract after 10 day contract and if Baron Davis doesnt get hurt, he is still doing that.


April 5th, 2014 at 7:50 AM ^

that's is not true re: if you are a solid first rounder u don't get the D league treatment or end of the bench treatment. Teams have traded top 10 picks in their first year without giving them a shot or out right released them after two years. Jimmer Fredette can't get minutes in Chicago after being released by Sacramento. Thomas Robinson was traded from Sacramento during his rookie year. both were top ten picks.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:52 PM ^

read an article about Austin Daye and how the Spurs treat him. The NBA is an entirely different animal with a lot of poor organizations and good ones like the Spurs who don't embrace everyone on their rosters equally. Hell, I still remember Darko interviews when he talked about the lack of individual coaching at practice.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:17 PM ^

I think most of us would but

(a) we are not giving up million(s) for this decision and (b) middle aged men don't play in the NBA. 

These guys have a shelf life of 3 years to maybe 12-13 years for most players in the NBA outside of a few exceptions. 

By the time they are 35 their high earnings power is done unless they become a sports agent or are an astute business man who can leverage NBA earnings to the next phase of life.

It's different than Joe Schmoe making $55K or $120K at age 44.

Nobody Likes a…

April 4th, 2014 at 9:07 PM ^

I was really stunned at how thoughtful Nik was about the whole process. He was diplomatic and took a couple of tough questions with a diplomacy I think very few would have shown.

He did say that Mitchs' decision was likely to effect Glenns'. Which I guess is what we all expected/ But he said that his was his own independant of that.

The other important thing is that he gave the impression that he would make his announcement by the end of next week. So the waiting game shouldn't last to long. I do feel like he's 99% gone though. It's the best decision for him.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:08 PM ^

they tell him he is going in the first round.  Being a first round pick is akin to winning the lottery.  You pretty much have to do it.  It's not like Stauskas is the kind of player that is guaranteed to come back and be a top 5 pick next year.  He could come back, shoot poorly for some bizarre reason and go in the 2nd round next year.  I love him and wish he would stay, but take the damn money kid.    IMO Glenn and Mitch should both stay.  Both could make millions by staying I think.  Stauskas could lose millions by staying.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:24 PM ^

Yep.  Just like this year there are already 5-6 guys who are 6'9 to 6'11 who are currently in HS pegged for picks 1-5.  Throw in a European or two and a few guys who will explode on the scene next year at the college level.  Nik has the easiest choice of the 3 - just look at McDermott's slot.  That's Nik's upside give or take 1-2 slots.  

Downside is slump, injury, giving up net present value of 1 year of earnings, give up 1 year of a finite career where you can earn millions per year before returning to normal life.  Nik does not even need to slump next year to hurt himself - he could be like Gary Harris who essentially was flat year over year and is in the same exact spot in the mock drafts. Pretty hard to improve on conf POY, 18 ppg, and shooting 47% as a guard in the NCAA.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:23 PM ^

Very good analysis.

I think you could have spent even more time on the issue of draft stock dropping with an extra year of school. GRIII is of course a good example of this, but there are many examples in different sports where the issue is even more obvious.

Of course, the problem with GRIII is that he did not develop in the key ways he needed to this year. Nik, on the other hand, grew substantially on offense. If Nik can translate this solid growth into total domination next year, he could be a top ten pick that projects to be a starting 2 somewhere in the NBA. I think he would do that.

But there are no guarantees. If he were a player at, say, Stanford, I would advise him to go. As a Michigan fan, I want him to stay. If he did, Michigan opens up a Final Four favorite. But I doubt he will.

GRIII and McGary should probably come back, though with GRIII another year without development on either offense or defense will drop him to the back do the draft. He needs to improve either his driving or his shooting on offense (both, preferably, but he needs at least one skill to be usable in an NBA offense) and he absolutely must get stronger on defense.

If he believes that will happen, he should come back. If he thinks he has reached his plateau at Michigan, he needs to get out while he's draftable.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:27 PM ^

GR3 and THJ's career arc are really quite similar, with the "soft" sophomore season.  THJ came back and really improved as a junior and vaulted into the 1st round.  With GR3's "measurables" being superior to THJ (i.e. he will wow more during the 'combine stuff') he could be a 13-20 slot next year if he has a THJ type season.  But of course he would want to do that as a 3, and as many have said Mitch and GR3 seem locked at the hip for this decision.

Mr. Yost

April 5th, 2014 at 8:39 AM ^

I've been using both of these examples for 6-7 months now.

IMO, it's simple. He should go UNLESS THIS (the teams that you both spoke of) is what he's hoping to acheive.

All that other stuff is obvious and clear as day.

At the end of the day Stauskas should leave and go to the NBA unless he truly loves college and desires to have the best shot at an NCAA championship anyone is ever going to have (preseason). This of course assumes GRIII and McGary come back too.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:38 PM ^

it's not about the rookie contract, it's more about the 2nd contract.  If you play well, you're going to get an even larger contract.  The sooner you finish it, the better.

That's why it's a tough decision for Nik but since he's projected as a fringe lottery pick, he should go. He has guaranteed money already if he is drafted at 1st round which he will.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:47 PM ^

his head is at; if he looks at one missed year of nba salary and the price tag attached to it, yeah he's pretty well gone. But if he figures that a hell of a lot of money is still a hell of a lot of money and he'll get his eventually; besides, it doesn't seem to me like he's having to live like a pauper while he's in school. I could maybe see him staying. Probably not that wise, but hey, he's still a kid too.


April 4th, 2014 at 9:56 PM ^

I hope all three of them do what's best for them and their families at this time, whether that's another year playing together in school, or a year earning a paycheck in the league.

And if their decisions coincide with my love of Michigan and my lack of interest in the NBA, then all the better for me, but if not, I wish them all success and thank them for being good representatives of my alma mater on the court and off, and hope they remain ambassadors for this great university.

Go Blue!


April 4th, 2014 at 10:12 PM ^

I wonder if the love for the game will factor in on his decision. He is a kid that loves playing basketball, at Michigan he is guaranteed to play and most likely be a leader. He does not have that going pro, he could play or he could get buried on the bench. Yes millions of dollars is way more important but I wonder???