Draft Profiles: Nik Stauskas, 6’6, SG, Michigan, 210 lbs., Sophomore

Draft Profiles: Nik Stauskas, 6’6, SG, Michigan, 210 lbs., Sophomore

Athletic Ability

Stauskas is a below average athlete by shooting guard standards.  At this NBA level, he lacks burst and lateral quickness.  While not a great athlete, Stauskas does have some surprising hops occasionally.  The way Stauskas is able to get by with limited athleticism is through understanding the game and great size.


Stauskas, while limited athletically, presents nice size for a two guard position at nearly 6’7 and 210 pounds.  While having great height, Stauskas is another wing lacks a great wing-span at only 6’8.  By today’s standards however, 6’7 and with his skills should present some mismatches.

Basketball IQ

Stauskas has one of the best basketball IQ’s in the draft.  While being limited athletically, he is able to get to his spots for a shot.  When playing in the pick-and-roll, Stauskas does a tremendous job seeing the floor and either creating for another, as evidenced by his 3 assists a game, or finding a shot for himself.  Overall, Stauskas is able to make an impact because of his skill-set and mind-set.


Skill-wise, Stauskas is one of the two best shooters, along with Doug McDermott, in this draft.  While a great shooter, he worked hard to expand his game and skills offensively.  His first year, Stauskas was basically only a three point shooter while occasionally getting to the rack for a lay-up if the lane was wide-open. 

This year, Stauskas played many times off the pick-and-roll as the main ball-handler and showed great handles with either hand.  With his height, he can see over many opponents allowing him to hit the roll big man in stride or a cutting slasher for a shot.  If his passing option(s) were cut off, Stauskas likes to shoot a fade-away from mid-range.

While Stauskas has many offensive talents, he also has struggles that might become more evident if not relying on others to create his shots.  At times, many colleges would put smaller, but quicker defenders on him to keep him from getting space to get a shot off or creating off the dribble against a quicker opponent. 

Will he be able to regularly create for others with taller shooting guard opponents on him that are very athletic?  On top of this Stauskas is not very good defensively due to his athletic limitations.   How will he recover on picks or contain the drive? He’s also a poor rebounder for his position.


Overall Stuaskas works very hard on his game and will find a niche due to his shooting.  While he has limitations defensively and might not be a natural creator at the NBA, I feel Stauskas is an opportunistic creator and can play off pick-and-roll with shooting, ball-handling, and passing.  I don’t think he will be able to create shots for himself (or others) regularly like he did in college due to lack of foot-speed. 

However, since he works so hard, I can see him eventually developing a low-post game when guarded by smaller defenders. I feel Stauskas’ game compares favorably to Marco Bellinelli with better shooting.  Many people compare Stauskas to Klay Thompson, but I don’t think he is as fluid of an athlete.  I do think Stauskas will be a great shooter from day 1 and will be drafted from mid-lottery to late lottery.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

The last two drafts the Bulls have talked about need for shooting and this is desperately true.  Stauskas is a very confident player and I feel would instantly be one of the best shooters in the NBA.  The Bulls also need a stable presence at the shooting guard that can shoot, create a little, and play defense. 

Stauskas is a player that works very hard, can shoot, and can handle the ball.  I don’t know if I see him ever being a natural creator, but I do see how he can provide more for the Bulls as a secondary ball handler than say a Kyle Korver while also being a more consistent shooter than Bellinelli while he was here.

Stating this, at pick 16, Stauskas will likely be out of our price range.  I would draft Stauskas over a player such as Rodney Hood or James Young because I believe in Stauskas confidence and knowing his role. 

While I like Hood, I don’t know if I see the consistent confidence and James Young is more aggressive and talented than both, but is wildly streaky to me.  The only other prospect I would take at shooting guard at pick 16 if available over Stauskas is Gary Harris because he is not a liability on either side of the floor and would provide at least some stability at the shooting guard position. 

That said Stauskas is going to be a very good offensive player at the next level, and the Bulls can use that.


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  • I like Stauskas a lot and would love to have him on the Bulls. I don't see any way for that to happen unless they are trading up to get him. I think Harris is a better player, but that Stauskas will be picked higher because of his shooting and size. I have him going #11 to Denver right now, but think he could go even higher if teams like the Hornets, Sixers, or even the Jazz fall in love with him. I'm still hoping that my predictions come true and the Bulls land Harris and Nurkic.

  • I know there's a lot of love for Stauskas among this group. I think he's a no-brainer if he falls to 16, but he won't.

    The question is, would you use both picks to trade up to get him?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yes, but only if we were committed to buying a pick maybe one from 28-35 if anyone is willing to sell so that we can get a backup big to groom in this system and not have to rely on Nazr when Jo needs a breather.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Exactly. Last year the Bulls had the opportunity to draft either Plumlee or Dieng. All,or most, pro scouts thought they were both slam dunk, competent NBA back-up centers (actually both have potential to be starters down the road). Yes, you will say but the Bulls also needed a shooting wing. I agree. But everything about Snell's collegiate career screamed mediocrity at best. Given the choice between Plumlee/Dieng or Snell, GarPax chose Snell. Probably based on need as we had Nazr locked up at the minimum.

    Fast forward to the present. Stauskas IMO will be a competent shooting wing based upon his solid collegiate credentials. Let's say the Bulls trade-up to get him by using both first rounders. I would probably go along with this-understanding the Bulls have to pay a high price for the privilege of acquiring someone of Stauskas' talent. Question: How many first round draft picks did it take to acquire a competent shooting wing (Stauskas)? Answer: the two this year plus the wasted one last year on a marginal talent (at best) factoring in, as you indicated, that the Bulls will probably need to utilize or acquire a future first round pick to get a competent back-up big. Which, of course, they could have acquired last year with their first round pick.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Yes, let's beat the Snell dead horse some more. Instead of looking forward, let's spend time lamenting the past. That Snell pick really sucked. Now the Bulls are set back for years. The Aldrdige-for-Thomas trade was also bad. Teague was a bad pick too.b

  • In reply to Roman F:

    What did you think of the Dickey Simpkins pick?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Lol. Terrible! And James Johnson too!

  • In reply to Roman F:

    As described below - only if I can get a 2nd round pick also in return for 2 picks it will cost to get him!

  • Nice review Kevin. Thanks. One thing about Nik is that in only his second season he averaged 3.3 assists per game which shows some passing instincts/inclinations while maintaining a 1.8 A/TO which is very respectable. You combine that with his handle is rated as exceptional. So the hyper attention paid to his shooting threes at a prolific rate and 44% if he can use fakes(head, shoulder, hand etc.) it's going to make his handle and at least solid speed much more effective then it otherwise would be in driving and passing. More so in extended half court and off picks of course. But the spacing of the NBA will help him and he has good pull up abilities.

    That's not to say Stauskas is going to be a driver or big time creator, but it could add at least occasional mid range forays and dishes to cutters on collapsing D's possibly enabling his court time to significant minutes. Of course if he ever played back up point(I know maybe a stretch) it would have to be a cross match defensively switching to the SG not defending the PG.

    Also, this guy is only 20 and could improve a little athletically and otherwise. And he's by all accounts a fiery competitor. When you see him interviewed like at the combine he has a certain spark. He's a somebody. In the NCAA tournament he maintained his awesome three point shooting on a very high volume in all but the final game where he gutted it out attacking Kentucky for 11 trips to the line of which he cashed in 10 for 24 points. You can question his rebounds and steals as a so-so/ marginal defender, but with his drive he'll find a way to be viable.

    When you take into account his basketball I.Q., which is excellent, his ability to use screens and get his shot up very quickly, and his combine numbers in lane agility were so good if he can learn to steer drivers into the teeth of the D and move his feet then you have maybe a starter. Certainly a guy who has a chance to be a very nice rotation guy with fiery competitor and lethal long range but also mid range shooting.

    I'd absolutely cash in both picks to trade up for Nik Stauskas, but again not likely with the Bulls M.O. He should make a for a hell of a shooter and solid scorer over all for someone anyway with perhaps a surprisingly well rounded game to boot.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If the Bulls plan on bringing in Mirotic, I can definitely see the Bulls either trading up or down to take on less rookies. I would be intrigued by Stauskas using only our 2 picks if it brought back an early 2nd such as Sixers at 10, Suns picks (14 & 27 - I know this is a late first), or knowing we can buy an early 2nd (seems like a lot of teams are bidding this year for those).

  • Side Note: Another "dark horse" who has tip toed all the way up to No. 18 on NBADraft.net's board is..(wait for it).. Cleanthony Early.

    Yes the late bloomer, old man(23) from lackluster competition mid major Wichita State, who can't dribble, can't shoot/flat shot(DraftExpress), and has "lack of focus at times"(NBADraft.net). OK, so I'm all in(Ha, ha).

    Bottom line: I'm not saying I'd draft this guy, but there's a reason he's moving up big time. He shot 37% on 5 threes a game and 84% from the line. The type of lightning quick, freak hops athlete that often translates as in success to the NBA. Also his combine numbers were '"crazy" as they say including at only 6'7(SF) his wingspan measured nearly 6'11. Also his attitude and character get high marks. Could be a Cliff Robinson type(Portland 90's). Certainly intriguing as he stealthily ascends the draft board. Which again to me NBADraft.net is uncannily accurate as a barometer of draft position. My only question is without a high fouls per game why did he only manage 25 and 27 minutes a game? Reinforces notion that offensively other then threes and transition he's very limited..? 16ppg in limited minutes.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Not my first choice but I wouldn't complain if my guys (Hood, Stauskas) were off the board and Early was picked. Actually, I didn't connect with Aran Smith's (NBAdraftnet) comparison with Cliff Robinson. My comparison would be a poor man's Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson with that solid build, quick release, and somewhat flat trajectory jumpshot. The father of the current Glenn Robinson. Cliff Robinson was tall and wiry.

    The fact that he is older could be a blessing. I understand that younger players have theoretically more upside. But if you have the skills, why not? Taj would have never fallen to the Bulls if he were younger.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yes, LOVE Cleanthony. That Kentucky game was S-I-C-K! This dude was on fire and Kentucky could not check him and they had NBA capable defenders guarding him.

    I LOVE Stauskas because he can play some PG, turns the ball over very little and shoots lights out.

    Early does not provide the same shooting touch, and may be more of a SF, but maybe the Bulls nab Early and someone like Payne. I'd be happier with those two guys than with only Stauskas.

    Early is a great 2-way player.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I agree with all of your points on Early, Granby!

    While I really like Stauskas and think he will be a pretty good player in the NBA, I don't think he is our answer at SG. Being that I don't think he is the answer at SG then why trade up for someone who's going to ultimately be coming off the bench. I also don't want anymore non athletes to be added to this backcourt. I think even more than shooting what was exposed in the playoffs was our lack of athleticism in the backcourt. They ran us out of the building. While I wouldn't be "upset" if we drafted Stauskas, I think Harris is the guy, and if you can't get Harris then go after Young. I also like Early & Napier.

    A dream draft night to me would consist of drafting Harris at 16(Prob won't make it I know that's why I said dream), Young/Early at 19, and then trade Snell and/or other asset not named Mirotic, Butler or Dunleavy and our 2nd to move up and pick Stokes from Tennessee. This would immediately add athleticism to this roster and revive our dormant fast break. Getting Derrick back wouldn't hurt either.

  • In reply to muckfiami:

    The only issue that I have with the Harris bandwagon, is that while there are any number of tiny point guards that have made it in the NBA, there don't seem to be many if any tiny shooting guards.

    I get that he appears to be the best 2 way player, but if he is simply too small to play the position in the NBA, then he becomes a no way player. The is a huge difference in how much size matters in the NBA vs college.

    I also agree that it is only worth trading up in the draft if you are targeting a starting caliber player, if he is just another role playing bench guy then just keep your picks.

  • Will Thibs play hi if his D is weak?

    Could the Bulls land Saric if they traded #16, #19, and the Kings pick? And how soon might Saric come over?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Thibs will oversee weak D if smart system players and they provide an extremely high offensive talented gift (NRob, Korver). I think Stauskas would play right away, but like Korver, he might not play as much as we need him to due to defensive weaknesses.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    He pulled out last year when it was rumored that Dallas was taking him at 12. His father seems to be the problem, don't know if he thinks that top 10 is good enough, or if he is shooting for top 5.

    You probably have to move up to the 9th pick to guarantee that you get Saric, which happens to be the Charlotte pick, maybe MJ wants his pick back. Do you have to go 3 picks to move up to 9?

    The 8th pick belongs to Sacto, maybe they might be motivated to get their pick back too.

  • If Bulls cannot land Melo or Love, I see them taking 2 players if they are happy with whatever players are available.

    One of the reasons to trade a pick away would be to get more cap space to sign Melo. Or, trade the pick for Love.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I agree with your 2nd points.

    However, if they can't land Love or Melo, which we might not know until after the draft, why not go for Saric by trading up?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Would only be interested in Saric if knew was coming over this year (we need some cheap talent coming over this year).

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Trading 2 picks for 1 and then waiting a year on a guy like Saric would be useful, if the Bulls decide to create max space to pursue Melo, otherwise you are right we need some young cheap(and talented) blood.

  • I, on the other hand, would be willing to wait a year or two for a strong starter -- like Mirotic. That is a way to maximize your picks.

    If the FO knew they could get Love or Melo this summer, then by all means trade up and get the SG now! Even if they have to throw in Dunleavy to do it.

  • I know some people are high on Saric. My initial impression was not a favorable one due to limited athleticism and not exceptional shooter. However, on second look you notice a couple of things which have vaulted him to No. 12 in a draft deep in talent.

    Saric first and foremost is a superb passer including in transition. He makes things happen. Though I don't know that he has the foot speed to play SF. He's 6'10 and unfortunately his wing span matches this meaning not real long. Normally that's not a big deal, but with his poor leaping ability/finishing it would help if he was a 7 foot wingspan guy.

    He looks like a player to me though. If he can/could fill out let's say(broad shouldered/not narrow hips hopefully) then as a PF his face up game and post up both of which are rated as exceptional and outstanding respectively then it's possible he turns out to be a very good offensive player. I would be hesitant to draft him due to questions(another Mirotic waiting game perhaps, ugh!) about when he will be available/plans on coming over. But, he definitely has potential as in could pan out for somebody in say two or three years.

  • Late posts aka killing time. 1) Gary Harris yes probably a little on the short side at 6'3.5" in shoes, but his wingspan at nearly 6'7" is actually pretty good at nullifying this when you add his outstanding quickness and exceptional athleticism. When you take all those factors into account, I wouldn't let his height deter me from drafting him.

    2) If the Bulls did trade up to say No. 11 and you had a choice between Harris and Stauskas, who ya got? Michigan vs. Michigan State. I hate to say it, but as much as I like Stauskas including better size, I'd probably have to go with Harris. A tough choice though.

    3) Adreian Payne according to combine measurements listed on DraftExpress has a 7'4" crazy wingspan and big hands. Explosive big 42% threes. I still like him a lot especially at 19 which could be the case as NBADraft.net still has him at No. 23. Random thoughts - over.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If you made me choose between Staukas/Harris, I choose Harris because you can play him at all times during the game. We just need more offensive playmakers.

    Payne, I like a lot and think he will be good. I don't think he will be a superstar or even as good as Taj, but will be solid and provide 3 point shooting!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yes, tough call on Stauskas vs Harris. Harris is small, but D.Wade is probably 6'4 or 6'4 1/2 max with shoes on. He is tiny next to LeBron at what, 6'8"?

    Harris arm length at 6'7" and above average athletic ability mitigates the size issue.

    I hate to move up to get either one of these guys since they are less than ideal. However, if I had to move up to get one of them, I may go get Stauskas because Harris is a tweener and Stauskas is a definite SG with great size and shooting. While only an average athlete, he can get his shot off because of his size and quick release.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I really think both will be good - it's the preference of team.

    Sources say the Nuggets have had serious discussions with the Bulls about swapping No. 11 for Nos. 16 and 19. If the Bulls get this pick, they'll grab either Harris or Stauskas here. If the Nuggets keep their pick, look for them to focus on their back court. Ty Lawson is the only real foundation piece they have. Nik Stauskas and a host of other wings are all possibilities here but the word is that Harris was a wow for them in workouts. Now that he's fully healthy and explosive again (Harris measured a 40-inch max vertical in his Lakers workout) he's another guy who could start rising. ESPN.com
    Rumors tagsChicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Draft, Trade
    - See more at: http://hoopshype.com/rumors/tag/draft#sthash.fsqqxhG2.dpuf

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