What’s the first thing you think of when you hear Nik Stauskas’ name? Vivek Ranadive getting the Kings’ war room to chant, “Nik Rocks!” on Draft Night 2014? The way that Ranadive said Stauskas “shoots like Steph and he’s big like Klay”? The closed captioning mishap that led to the Sauce Castillo phenomenon? The way that he, Pik Swapkas, came to the Sixers after the team’s infamous trade with Sacramento back in 2015?
It’s probably one of those things, but the fact that none of those have to do with Stauskas’ actual on-court play is telling. Playing for the dumpster fire that is the Ranadive-run Kings, as well living in fear of DeMarcus Cousins’ constant threats, marred his rookie campaign. A change of scenery was certainly welcoming for Stauskas when he came to Philadelphia for the 2016 season, but he struggled to find the swagger that made him a lottery pick out of Michigan. A shooter without confidence isn’t much of a shooter at all, as Stauskas shot just 38.5 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from three in his first year in Philly.
“Nik Sucks!” was a more apt phrase at that point.
During his third season this past year, it may be going a little too far to say things began to click for Stauskas, but the idea of “Nik Stauskas, NBA Role Player” became more crystalized. He led all qualified Sixers with a three-point percentage of 36.8 percent on 4.5 attempts per game in 80 contests. On a team bereft of offensive threats, that’s certainly a useful skill. Looking a little deeper into his three-point shooting might give a better idea of just how useful of a player Stauskas can be in the Sixers’ future.
35.1 percent of Stauskas’ overall shots came on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, sinking 41.0 percent of those on 2.8 attempts per game, per …
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