The NBA Draft is quickly approaching, and with that comes the hype. The buzz surrounding Charlotte this offseason is a big topic right now, as the Bugs look to expand on their success from last season. The question is who will bring that change come June. Here we will take a look at the best options for the Charlotte Hornets as we kick off our Draft Profile series.
Three point shooting:
Stauskas shot 47 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from downtown last season at Michigan. Gary Neal and Anthony Tolliver, the Hornets’ two top three point strokers, did not shoot over 44 percent all season.
Stauskas has probably the purest, quickest release of all NBA draft prospects. He provides the floor stretching ability and deadeye shooting that Hornets GM Rich Cho would love to see out of their lottery pick.
As you can see in the video (it gets a bit redundant after a while), Stauskas can really sink the outside shot.
Another aspect of Stauskas’ game that is perhaps underrated is his ball handling and passing ability. Stauskas really sees the whole floor and has an eye for the open man. He works perfectly as a secondary ball handler in the offense, making it easier for the true point guard to make cuts.
Stauskas really needs this part of his game to avoid the label of “one dimensional”. His court vision and pass off the pick are among the top in this 2014 draft class.
Despite ony averaging 3.3 assists per game last season, Stauskas’ ability to find the open guy really makes him a much more attractive prospect.
Moving without the ball:
Stauskas, like every other deadeye shooter, moves without the ball perfectly.
Whether it be the corners or at the top of the key, fellow ball handlers can always find Stauskas making cuts to get open. This skill, that has been perfected by the likes of Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, and Kyle Korver, is crucial to a spot up shooter’s success.
Stauskas is perhaps the only true shooter in this draft class that has this skill down pat.
From the NBA top 100 camp in 2010 to the NBA draft combine in 2014, Stauskas went from a whopping 200 to 207 lbs. That is a number that is going to hurt him in the association.
Having to go up against bigger, stronger guys like Bradley Beal, James Harden, and DeMar DeRozan will leave Stauskas’ teammates constantly picking him up off the ground.
Stauskas is a valuable commodity on offense and his lightweight helps him get past defenders, but it will definitely hurt him when attempting to guard other guards.
Similar to the strength issue, Stauskas will likely be blown by other shooting guards. Stauskas is slow laterally and cannot cover ground like some elite defenders in the draft can.
If he can’t cover guys on defense, he won’t earn his minutes on offense.
How he fits in Charlotte:
Of all players I have done a draft series on so far as well as the other prospects rumored to go to Charlotte at number nine, Stauskas fits the best of all. He provides Charlotte with an attacking wing at 2 guard and a smooth outside stroke to down three pointers.
He also provides Kemba Walker with a qualified secondary ball handler. Walker is a shoot first point guard, so having a solid guy at the 2-guard position who can run pick and rolls with Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller would allow Walker to expand his reach offensively.
Stuaskas’ defensive liabilities would likely become a non-issue after Steve Clifford gets his hands on him. The Hornets, who ranked in the top 10 defenses last season, did not get there through signing quality defensive players. They got there through turning guys into solid defensive players. Stauskas would likely be the same case.
I see Stauskas as the Hornets’ best option at number nine here and easily picture him as a day one starter, relegating Gerald Henderson to a sixth man role. His numbers would likely hover around 14 points per game, coupled with 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Those are numbers that would be great for a rookie year and help Charlotte on their road to playoff contention immediately.
So, what do you think? Should the Hornets take Nik Stauskas at number nine? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Figures and stats courtesy of DraftExpress