Nik Stauskas | 2014 NBA Draft Profile

Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas was a sharpshooter during the Wolverines' revival over the past two seasons. He can shoot and has intangibles, but how does his all-around game translate to the NBA?
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Michigan | Sophomore | Shooting Guard | 6-foot-6 | 205 lbs

2013-14: 35.6 MPG, 17.5 PPG, .470 FG%, .442 3FG%, 2.9 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.6 SPG

2012-13: 30.5 MPG, 11.0 PPG, .463 FG%, .440 3FG%, 3.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.6 SPG


Editor’s Note: Throughout June, will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 13 pick, or if they choose to be mobile during the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26. Part II highlights Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas, a sharp-shooter who helped lead the Wolverines back to national prominence during his pair of seasons in Ann Arbor.


Not since the Fab Five era has the University of Michigan enjoyed as much success as the Wolverines did during the past two seasons. The program has finally recovered from Fab Five sanctions, and over the past two years John Beilein’s crew has not only reached a national championship game and an Elite Eight, but they’ve won two more tournament games in that two-year span than they had in the previous 18 years combined.

Much of that has to do with the type of character and athletes the Wolverines have pieced together during the past few years. A year ago, we watched Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr., make the jump to the NBA and become solid contributors. This year, it is Nik Stauskas—along with his teammates, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III—that will try to make that jump.

Stauskas, a sophomore who hails from Ontario, was the 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year and a 2014 All-Big Ten first team selection. He worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman and really never looked back. His 3-point shooting set him apart, and that will likely be his biggest attribute as he heads into the NBA. It’s also why he is considered to be a lottery pick on June 26.

He said he watches a lot of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson—Golden State’s starting back court duo—and he tries to model his game after theirs.

But he understands he needs to keep improving, which is what he’s trying to do during his Draft workouts this spring/summer. He said he feels like he’s someone who can make an impact on a team right away and, perhaps, surprise some people about what he can accomplish on the court.

“I can immediately be a guy who stretches the floor and makes shots,” Stauskas said. “That’s something I’ve always been able to do, but I think teams are really going to be surprised when they have the ball in my hands and they have ball screens. I think they’ll be surprised the plays I can make for myself and others. I just feel like I’m a guy with a high IQ, and I like to make the right plays out there.”

That was essentially why the Wolverines became such a strong national contender over the past few years. Guys like Stauskas and Burke and Hardaway all had the athleticism to thrive, the ability to knock down shots, and the basketball IQ to make things happen for themselves and others.

Stauskas wants teams to realize he will be a teammate that helps the organization win on the court but also helps create a strong environment in the locker room.

“[I’m telling teams] just that I’m a good person, I come from a good family,” Stauskas said. “I think that’s important for people to know. And I’m not doing this because I want the money or anything like that. Obviously the money’s great, but I’m doing this because I love the game of basketball. It’s what made me happy since I was 7-8 years old. I think teams will get a vibe like that.”


This is a player who can straight up shoot the basketball. He hit 44.2 percent of his 208 3-point attempts last year at Michigan, and for any team looking for a spot-up jump shooter that can hit from the outside, Stauskas is a prime draft prospect. He’s got great mechanics and can hit off the bounce, in catch-and-shoot situations and coming out of the pick-and-roll. He also has a strong basketball knowledge and can create for others. He has good ball-handling skills and can make the right play when given the opportunity.


Stauskas’ biggest drawback will likely be his ability to play defense at the NBA level. He’s not viewed as a great defender at this point, and there are questions about how much he can grow in that area in the future. He also isn’t the strongest player on the floor, can be lacking in the physicality department off the ball and can struggle trying to contain driving ball handlers. He’ll also need to showcase that he can create offense on a consistent basis.


“Definitely, my whole life I grew up watching the NBA as a fan. Over the course of the year, I started watching the game as kind of picturing myself in there. What they’re doing out there. The way I watch games has changed a little bit.” — Nik Stauskas on his dream of making it to the NBA


Stauskas is an attractive pick in this year’s draft because he’s a sharpshooter, first and foremost, but he’s also a pretty athletic wing who comes from a winning tradition at Michigan and has a good head on his shoulders. He said at the Draft Combine he wants teams to know the type of person he is just as much as the type of ball player he can be. Character is a major part of developing a cohesive, winning atmosphere, and that’s something Stauskas seems to want to convey. On the court, he’s got the shooting stroke and leadership ability you like to see in an athlete. And he has a great feel for the game, as the Big Ten learned during his two years with the Wolverines.

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