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.
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.