(Over the next few weeks, Bryant West and I will breakdown our cumulative top-15 prospects, players who figure to be in play for the Kings at pick No. 8.)
Shooting Guard, Michigan
Sophomore, 20 years old
6’6.5″, 207 lbs.
2013-14 Stats: 17.5 PPG (47% FG, 82.4% FT, 44.2% 3FG), 2.9 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.9 TOPG
Measurements: 6’6.75″ wingspan, 8’6″ standing reach, 35.5″ max vert, 29″ no step vert, 12.1% body fat
Cumulative Ranking: 15th | Bryant’s Ranking: 15th | Scott’s Ranking: 14th
Nik Stauskas: THE BREAKDOWN
Scott: If the Kings are looking at Stauskas, it would almost assuredly mean they have traded down. And at that point, grabbing a lethal shooter for the bench would be fine by me. The thing about Stauskas is I think he can be more than just a pure shooter. I like his his feel for the game, he’s a very good athlete and has good size. Definitely could carve out a role immediately behind Ben McLemore.
Bryant: I agree on Stauskas in the late-lottery or mid-teens. He’d certainly help the Kings with their shooting, and he offers enough else on the court that he isn’t just a pure shooter, That shooting, though… we know Pete D’Alessandro’s main goal is to add shooters, and while Stauskas wouldn’t be as high a profile add as Doug McDermott, he would certainly stretch the Kings offense. That would help, and he may even be able to battle with McLemore for the immediate starting role. My only problem — he’s only an average defender at best. I believe the Kings biggest need is defense, and while Stauskas helps with the offense, he’d be another below-average defensive player to a team that already has enough of those.
Scott: The hope would be if the Kings pick Stauskas, they will have picked up another asset via trade for the #8 — two later first rounders or a player and a later pick. So maybe Stauskas doesn’t have to solve the defensive problem right away. He might immediately become the Kings best shooter.
Bryant: Agreed on the pick trade back: two ideas would be trading back to Phoenix (who has picks 14, 18 and 27) or Chicago (with picks 16 and 19), although I’d like to hope #8 might fetch a bit more than that. Still, the defense is the only major concern for Stauskas, and if that’s addressed in other areas, he’d be a good fit. One under-appreciated stat: He’s got a 18.8% assist rate, a very impressive number for a SG, and he’s got some decent PG skills (although I don’t imagine he’d ever play the position fully). That assist rate is tops among the projected 1st round shooting guards (Gary Harris, Rodney Hood, C.J. Wilcox), so the Kings wouldn’t be getting a ball-hog shooter. It’d also be nice to have a true SG prospect with the size (6’5″ without shoes) and strength to not get out-muscled at the position.
Three Questions with Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com
(Ed Isaacson has been gracious enough to lend his expertise to our draft coverage this year. Few people cover prospects as thoroughly as Ed. He’s a must-follow on Twitter this time of year — @NBADraftBlog — and check out all of his work at NBADraftBlog.com.)
1. The Kings drafted a shooting guard last year in Ben McLemore. In your opinion, does Stauskas have the chance to be a better pro than McLemore or would he strictly be a reserve?
Ed: I think if both players reached their full potential, McLemore would be the better player, but it is tough to make a full comparison because even though Stauskas is considered a “shooting guard” he does bring a different skill set than McLemore. This past season, Stauskas showed he could be a more versatile scorer than just a shooter. Also, he proved to be an effective ballhandler in pick-and-roll situations, both being able to score and showing good court vision and passing skills.
2. Stauskas has the tools to be an average defender, but how much of a weakness will he be immediately?
Ed: While Stauskas will never be confused with a top-level defender, I don’t think it will be a huge problem early on in his career. He has a great understanding of the game, and he will find ways to handle his assignments adequately. Once he is comfortable in the league, his athleticism will allow him to be at least an average defender.
3. Is there any way Stauskas becomes an option for a team in the top 10 or would he only be a consideration for the Kings in a trade down scenario?
Ed: I would see no problem with a team taking Stauskas on the fringe of the top 10, though it may be considered a slight reach. I think his abilities to see the floor and pass would be a good benefit for certain offenses, and every team needs long-range shooters like him.