This year’s draft class is one of the best in recent memory. They have the talent, but they also have the depth. Many players drafted outside the top 14 selections in this year’s NBA Draft will have an impact in the league next season.
University of Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas exceeded preseason expectations by leaps and bounds during his sophomore campaign. Stauskas, without the help of preseason All-American Mitch McGary due to injury, helped lead the Wolverines to an Elite 8 appearance this season. Although just one of the many combo guards in this year’s draft, Stauskas’ quick release and seemingly endless shooting range will make him a coveted player on draft day. He has good enough ball skills where he can run the point if needed, but also has shown the ability to score off of screens/pick plays and in isolation situations. He can run the pick-and-roll efficiently and has a high basketball IQ.
However, what Stauskus brings in offensive skill and ability he lacks in defense. He does not have great lateral movement or quickness, and is a bit small to effectively cover NBA two guards. He has the reputation of taking a few too many chances on the defensive end, inevitably leading to his man getting easy looks at the basket. Stauskas isn’t the most athletic guard, but doesn’t possess the quickness to make up for the gap.
It is no secret that the Chicago Bulls need offensive help, as well as sustainable backcourt depth. Stauskas could be part of the answer in both areas. He is a knock down shooter that can provide energy and scoring off the bench; something that the Bulls desperately needed last season. He’s a liability on the defensive end, but coach Tom Thibodeau has worked miracles for defensively inept players before.
The Bulls have reportedly been in trade discussions with various teams trying to move up in first round with Stauskas being one of their targets.
Stauskas reminds me of Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard JJ Redick when he was drafted out of Duke University. Both were known for their shooting stroke and ability to knock down shots from behind the arc seemingly at will. Redick has made a decent career playing a similar role in the NBA, and I see no reason why Stauskas could not do the same.
During his sophomore year with the Wolverines, Stauskas averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting 44.2% from three point range. He is the definition of a shooter, and that makes him a valuable player for nearly every NBA franchise.