By Charlie O. Mallonee – Sports Radio Service
The Sacramento Kings surprised the experts on Thursday night by selecting shooting guard Nik Stauskas from the University of Michigan. The experts were predicting the Kings would draft a power forward or a point guard at number eight. The Kings drafted shooting guard Ben McLemore out of Kansas last year. McLemore saw an increasing amount of playing time in the second-half of the 2013-14 season. Does the selection of Stauskas mean the Kings are giving up on McLemore or could Stauskas have been drafted as a piece for a potential multi-player trade with someone like the Detroit Pistons? As the great expert continues to say on a regular basis, “Only time will tell.”
Stauskas is a 6’6”, 205 pound shooting guard from Etobicoke, Ontario. He played his high school ball at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts before heading to the University of Michigan. Stauskas was voted the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2014. He was named to All-Big Ten First-Team and to the Associated Press All-American Second-Team last year. Stauskas was selected to the NCAA Tournament All-Midwest Regional Team for his play leading the Wolverines to an Elite Eight run. Michigan lost to Kentucky, the eventual tournament champions, 75-72 in the Elite Eight.
Stauskas led Michigan in scoring in 2014 averaging 17.5 points per game which ranked third in the Big Ten. He shot 47.0-percent from the field and 44.2-percent from three-point range. Stauskas is an 82.4-percent free throw shooter.
Stauskas is an elite shooter with a quick release and great mechanics. The experts say he has unlimited range and is comfortable shooting off the dribble or on pull-ups. Stauskas is solid ball-handler with a good first step and the ability to make plays off the bounce pass. He is also known as an unselfish player who will make the extra pass. David Aldridge of NBA.com had Stauskas as the number-one shooting guard available in the draft.
When asked how he felt about being selected by the Kings Stauskas said’ “I’m excited about the city and the organization. They have a great young corps there. I’m excited to get in there and help the team win some games.”
Responding to a question about being drafted after the Kings selected shooting guard Ben McLemore last year he said, “I feel like I can play multiple positions. Moving forward in the NBA I feel I can play a little bit of the one (guard) and some two. I know this team has kind of struggled shooting the ball and that’s obviously the best part of my game and spreading the floor and knocking down shots is what I’m excited about doing for this team.”
“A lot of guys who come to Michigan, the guys who were under recruited, we play with a chip on our shoulder,” he said on ESPN. “Me and Trey we felt we had something to prove and coach Beilein and the assistant coaches they’ve all done a great job and they gave us a great system to play in and we really succeeded in it.”
“You’re playing with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. you have to take a backseat somewhat,” ESPN analyst and former Wolverine Jalen Rose said on the broadcast. “He improved his ball handling, he got stronger, able to finish at the hoop, knock down three-point shooter and he’s fearless. He’s one of those guys who goes on the court and thinks, I’m the best player out there.”