2013-14 Season Stats
47% from the field
44% from three
82% from the free-throw line
Weight: 207 Height w/shoes: 6'6.5" Wingspan: 6'7.75" Max Vert: 35.5
*All measurements come from last month’s NBA Draft Combine.
A Stephen Curry-Ray Allen hybrid. Eric Gordon?
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Nikolas Stauskas probably will end up being the best shooter out of this draft. While it may be due to hype, his name could be associated with great shooting five-to-ten years from now just like how currently, people point to Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, and Klay Thompson as the models for good shooting. Obviously, his shooting is his greatest strength, but he has also shown an increase in his ability to create in different ways, including his cutting and slashing game. His main weaknesses include his lack of strength, which extends to his poor-ish defense.
Stauskas is known predominantly for one ability, and he's really good at it. Making shots seem to come naturally to him, and his set shots show the best mechanics from this draft class. Not only does his jumper display great mechanics, but he also was extremely efficient in getting it off. While obvioulsy a fantastic catch-and-shoot jumpshooter by definition, he has also shown a good ability to create his own shot off of the dribble. According to DraftExpress, Stauskas scored 0.9 points per play off the dribble, a very high mark. This ability to shoot well off the bounce has led to some interesting pick-and-roll opportunities. Between keeping defenses honest coming off a screen, Stauskas usually forced the defenses to definitively pick one player to guard. Either they picked the roll man at Michigan, allowing Stauskas to shoot easily on the pull-up, or they picked Stauskas, leaving the roll man with an easy finish at the rim after the pass.
Part of Stauskas' prowess in shooting came from his ability to shoot from NBA range and to be able to shoot with a hand in his face. He was very successful with contested jump shots last season, and this goes back to his ability in the pick-and-roll. Coming off of picks, Nik Stauskas displayed an unusually wonderful ability: he can drive right and take a stepback jumper off of his right foot. I can't stress enough how difficult that is. It takes a ton of coordination along with balance to even get the shot up, and to knock it down is even more impressive. If you want to be mesmerized, watch his tapes, and then try to do it yourself. It's not easy.
While his shooting is lauded (for good reason), that's not the only aspect to his offensive game. He's a very good passer in different situations, showing that he thinks the game through well. He throws accurate lob passes to cutting bigs, and his cross-court passes are usually right on the money. Coupled with his above-average handles for a two-guard, he could potentially play backup point guard in certain big lineups off the bench, depending on what team he goes to. Another product of his tighter-than-last-year handles is his slashing game. He attacks the rim with purpose, finishing with the athleticism that no one seems to remember because they're busy thinking about his above-average shooting ability. He draws fouls at a decent rate, showing that his offensive game is not one-dimensional.
The one flaw I've seen from his jumper on average is that he doesn't jump extremely high on his jumpshots. He can when the occasion rises, but as an 82-game season starts to wear on him while his defenders will be used to the grind, his set shot might not be as easy to get off without jumping higher against NBA defenders.
We've spoken a lot on his offense, and that's where the strengths end. His defense is horrible. Not James Harden-horrible (sorry, taking shots to his defense is all the rage these days), but still pretty bad. He doesn't have a ton of the strength required to defend at an elite level, and that's compounded by the fact that he doesn't have quick hands. His lateral quickness is lacking, and he doesn't have any natural length (look at his wingspan), so his lack of strength isn't compensated for in any area. He also is not very active off the ball, finding himself out of defensive position often. His defense needs much improvement if he wants to be known as more than a simple one-dimensional player. Stauskas has a skill-set that could help plenty of teams, but it's a matter of fit.