“There’s a real possibility (Nik Stauskas) might be able to go pro”

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Michigan Wisconsin-30Sports Illustrated profiles Nik Stauskas’s emergence and his father chimes in on his NBA Draft prospects.

Once the desire to renovate his mentality and his body set in, everything came fast — including, as it happens, recalibrated plans. Stauskas and his family wondered what people were missing about his capabilities for so long. Now, the hunger to demonstrate those capabilities this season might inspire a much shorter wait on future opinions elicited from, say, NBA executives.

“He sees the brass ring, like three inches away from his nose,” Paul Stauskas said. “He knows all he has to do is keep his nose to the grindstone for another couple of months, and there’s a really good possibility he might be able to go pro. He’s working really hard to achieve that.”

Stauskas is projected as an early second round draft pick.

  • Dan [loves Michigan]

    nooooooooooooooooo!

  • ZRL

    No surprise, I’ve been expecting Nik to go pro after this year since Puerto Rico. He’s an NBA junkie, so even if he’s only projected to be a border line first round pick I can see him leaving.

    • DingoBlue

      Yeah, those guys that want to play in the league look for reasons to go as opposed to ones to stay in many cases.

    • David DeMember

      I don’t think he’s ready to guard NBA 2s… He’ll potentially sit on the bench next year in the league. He needs to improve his defense… But @disqus_rB5ywQiyIr:disqus may be right… his stock may plateau after this season and he’s smart enough to know that. His offense is more than ready, but he can’t guard college 2s right now it seems like.

      JB sure is coaching kids up. I totally agree this would actually be good for the program, more so than football, kids want to play for CBB coaches who can get them in the league.

  • gobluemd16

    Yup, this sucks. Nik was always an NBA guy, totally obsessed with going pro. Not that it is a bad thing, but it has been clear through his comments. I also believe he said at one point that he didn’t watch college ball growing up and didn’t really realize how big it was until the beginning of high school. He is looking for a reason to go pro, and he has played great this season. Loong way to go, but I will say his body is probably not NBA ready, his game may be.
    His stock may not change much between this year and next, but draft classes will. I can’t see him going top 20 this year, but after another season I could.

  • guestavo

    I honestly think 3 1st round picks this year would be a HUGE step for our program and recruiting. I know, we want to return everyone and be this dominant team but this is our reality, losing players to early entry due to JB’s talent development. We should still be a nice team with a core of Walton, LeVert, Irvin, Chatman, Horford. Nik leaving now might even net us Kennard in 2015, just a hunch…

    • guestavo

      This draft isn’t stronger than next years, just extremely top heavy. If Nik isn’t a 1st rounder this year then he won’t be next year. That’s besides the point because Nik will be a first rounder. I’ve seen buzz in some NBA Draft communities about him being better than GR3 (still think he translates better at the pro level) and McGary, who most see as 1st rounder still. Nik is the 2 guard version of Chandler Parsons.

      • gobluemd16

        I actually love that comparison (parsons).

      • Dr_ZC

        Does anybody remember Rex Chapman? I always thought Nik was his …twin cousin.

        • Chezaroo

          So true! You don’t know how many times I have thought the same thing. Rex was a high school legend in Kentucky and a very solid NBA player. He also had extremely elite athleticism. Don’t know if Nik will ever be at that level, but he’s got a chance.

        • michaeltheoriginal

          Nah. J.J. Reddick. As much as I hate Duke, they are very similar. Reddick was pegged as just a shooter as a freshman and then came on with a complete dribble drive game. He could dish and go to the hole. Of course, he can’t do that in the NBA, but maybe neither can Nick.

          • Dr_ZC

            Can Reddick dunk? I do not remember him ever doing this. On the other hand, Rex participated in a few NBA dunk competitions, while he always played above the rim.

          • kam

            lol reddick 6’4 and is in the NBA..he can dunk. Can he dunk like nik? NO!

        • Webbdog

          Nah, but he has a Chance to Become A Bob Sura Like player if he continues to work Hard at his game.

      • kam

        I haven’t seen mitch in one first round draft board in a week.. i hope you’re right that he will rise, but its hard to do that without playing

        • guestavo

          Draftexpress has him in the first round.

    • Chezaroo

      Don’t believe Kennard is realistic for us anymore. Looks as though Briscoe is not an option anymore either.

      • Chezaroo

        Eric Davis was scintillating Saturday against number one Muskegon and MSU commit Deyonta Davis. He went for 31 and hit five threes. He is showing really extended range. The Lumberjacks lost however 88-78. He has got to be a major priority for us going forward.

      • kam

        i agree. kennard i don’t see a shot at

      • guestavo

        Kennard is definitely still an option.

        • Chezaroo

          No doubt we will continue to invest time, but all the chatter coming from his camp seems to indicate Kentucky, OSU, and NC are feeling more love than us. Would hate to see him go to OSU ( especially after losing Tate and Diop-Bates to them ) but they certainly need a scorer. Lot of things can change, but IMO it’s a battle of in-state love vs. childhood favorite. Possibility he makes a decision before Nik chooses, so I would be hesitant to call that a variable.

          • guestavo

            NC? You mean Duke? OSU has a 5 star sg coming in next year in D’Angelo Russell. Let’s just admit that no one know what they are talking about with Kennard, outside of UK being the favorite, and no one knows if they will even prioritize him over Malik Newman or Charles Matthews.

          • Chezaroo

            Don’t like our chances at all. Let’s check back when he commits, and remember the give and take.

  • Cliff Pappe

    You could tell he would have a shot at being in the NBA, last year with his shooting ability. This year he is showing leadership and more of what he can do by getting to the basket. If it’s not this year, then next.

  • Chezaroo

    Inevitable.

  • kam

    No shocker… Hes obsessed with the NBA.. If he’s a first rounder i think he’s gone. I think Mitch is the only one who doesn’t have the chance at being a fist rounder

    • gpsimms

      exactly. They have been saying the kid’s an NBA junkie since he arrived. I assumed he’d be gone at the earliest opportunity.

      Good news: he’s playing like a 1st round pick.

      Bad news: he’s playing like a first round pick.

      I’ll take it, the kid’s my favorite M bball player in a long time. Maybe ever.

      • Adam Valentine

        This Simms guy is so smart.

        • gpsimms

          stop trolling me, tine.

          that reminds me of: “stop looking at me, swan!”

  • jlustig22

    Not really a surprise. Would stink to lose Stauskas, Robinson and McGary all this year but it would be cool if they all went in the 1st rd if they leave. That would be quite an accomplishment to have 5 first rd picks in two years.

    That would lead to a major dropoff in talent next year though. You would be relying on LeVert, Irvin and Walton to carry the offense. That might leave us a little thin on the perimeter too. I guess it depends where you play a guy like Chatman. He has excellent versatility and could probably play the 3 or 4.

    I could see Beilein trying to add another wing if Stauskas and Robinson both leave. I don’t know if there is one out there who will emerge late but Beilein has found a few in the late signing period before.

    Guess we just to need to enjoy this season and worry about who leaves when it’s all over. It’s nice that we are recruiting and developing NBA players again even if it hurts to see them leave after 2 years.

  • JVS

    Unless you’re one of the top 10 guys in any draft, there is a huge amount of volatility based on how you close out/play on the tournament stage (and after declaring on the combine). While its clearly a priority for Nik, and he may decide to go in any circumstance, i’m hoping that the only way everyone goes is if we have a solid March/April run again. Also, very hard to forecast 2015 draft against 14, w/o knowing if mid-level guys stay or go.

  • Dr_ZC

    Going to the NBA is like playing the stock-market these days. Nik’s potential is pretty high and he has not reached it yet. He can be a very high NBA pick (which team does not want a 6.6 guard who can dribble, drive to the hoop, dish, and shoot the 3 with an effortless motion?) if some things go our way this year. Winning the big10, and make a deep run in the tournament, and Nik is as good as gone. Where is he going to be drafted, however?

    Nik can further improve his strength, speed and defense to position himself higher in the draft if he stays for an extra year. This, of course is a possibility if Michigan has a very good team in 2014-2015, which is almost a certainty If Mitch stays for an extra year, even if Glenn goes. ESPN will put him on a pedestal, and I am sure he will be a candidate for many collegiate awards next year. This can only boost his draft position. He can be a lottery pick for sure. Should he take the risk this year? Will he take it? I am sure he will seek the advice of the NBA draft board.

    One thing is for certain. Nik is in a position to create his own legacy at UM. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that he can be another Glenn Rice and have his jersey hanging from the rafters in the future.

    • Mattski

      I don’t think the jersey in the rafters can possibly mean as much to a kid as playing in the NBA, becoming rich and making mom and dad comfortable–I’m always a little surprised when posters suggest otherwise. A guy like Nik or Trey lives, eats, and breathes hoop and school must often seem like a huge distraction.

      Hopefully such hoopla makes Nik work that much harder and further aids the success of this year’s team. (I’m sure that none of this surprises Beilein.) The only downside I see this year is if he takes it upon himself to do to much. As enamored as fans are of Stauskas, I’d like to see GRIII be the equal-opportunity go-to player, myself.

      • Dr_ZC

        While I agree that athletic achievements at the college level dwarf those at the pro level in the eyes of young kids, I cannot help realizing in my old age that values are somewhat reversed. Watching the BTN special on the 89 Michigan championship basketball team, I saw that seasoned NBA veterans like Rice, Mills, Higgins, etc, have come full circle realizing the value of college athletics. These NBA players have gone through several years of pro careers, several NBA teams, several millions of contract dollars, etc, but they still stick with the college team that gave them unforgettable memories for the best years of their lives, remembering in vivid detail the moments that defined them as student athletes, and as human beings. For Glen Rice to say that Bo gave them the most inspired speech he had ever heard in his life, it must have been something that he will treasure for as long as he lives (do not bother to ask CWebb for his own memories :) ).

  • guestavo

    Chandler Parsons was as second round pick. For some reason, I have a hard time buying the coming back and increasing speed, strength and defense narrative because usually those things don’t increase to pro grade within one off-season, if ever.

    • Dr_ZC

      Well, Nik has proven just the opposite by putting the extra work over the summer. And this extra work was not necessarily to reach a pro grade target, but to improve his own weaknesses, which he recognized. And let us not fool ourselves. Most of the kids who play college ball, dream to (a) make it in the pros, (b) play in the league for a long time and (c) make money living a comfortable life. When Nik came to UM, most of us thought he would be a 4-year player with a distant shot in the pros. Now, after all the hard work Nik put towards his goal, it is evident that goal (a) is within his reach. Goals (b) and (c) can only be guaranteed if Nik can be a high first round pick signing a fat contract. How can he do that? It is his call, but we can all have an opinion about it, as there are tons of stats out there.

      • guestavo

        Nik got stronger over the offseason but he isn’t improving his lateral quickness, foot speed, north south speed which all plays into his mediocre defense.

        • mazs

          I believe Nik has improved his quickness in all phases of the game. That said, he isn’t and won’t ever be particularly athletic. And, as there are many mediocre defensive players in the NBA, that alone won’t stop him from playing for many years, There is no reason he can’t replicate Redick (with 5 extra inches) or Korver or the like.

          • kam

            Have u not watched Nik? he’s extremely athletic. 38 inch vert.. Just a comparison. D wade had a 38 in vert when he came out of college.. Nik is very athletic vertical wise

          • guestavo

            Nik isn’t going to transform into Lebron with another season at UM. Sure he may slightly increase his athletic metrics but not enough to improve his stock. His skill package is already complete and not much room for improvement at this level.

          • kam

            If a 6’3 jimmer who is also a poor defender and is far less athletic can go lottery its almost impossible to convince me he cant improve his stock.

          • Dr_ZC

            EXACTLY. All it takes is that he is dubbed as a pre-season All American, and ESPN commentators are talking about him and his evolution as a player. It does not hurt at all if Michigan has a good team next year, which looks to be the case, if McGary stays.

          • kam

            Exactly! Nik is far more complete already than jimmer offensively as a senior. Jimmer had no real positions since he was a 6’3 guard.. Nik at 6’6 is far more athletic, better off the dribble a better passer.. Jimmer was probably slightly better defensively. Its not that unreasonable to think he couldn’t be a top 20 pick if he kept improving and played this well next year

          • guestavo

            He can be a top 20 pick this year, which is something a ton of people are missing. Outside of the top 7, this draft is wide open. The whole “this is a deep draft” narrative evaporated once these freshman actually had to play the games.

          • kam

            I don’t anyone thinks its a deep draft anymore.. and i think he can be a lottery next year.

          • JVS

            I think its absolutely a deep draft up to 20 or so if everyone slated goes out (would change my view on this if Embiid/Parker return as is rumored). Why does everyone feel the need to overly love and then overly hate this draft? Just b/c Wiggins/Gordon/Harrisons don’t come out dropping 20points their first game, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be valued more highly than Nik. Nik is showing more now, but give Andrew Harrison (w/17 games under his belt) as an example 80 NBA games/teammates + training camp + practices and his upside is absolutely higher. Nik’s likely ceiling this year, which is still very good, is probably where THJr was, and if he goes absolutely nuts in the tourney or consistently over the next 1-2 years, Doug McDermott which is probably fringe lottery, but a lot would have to go right in both cases, and a year w/o Glenn there, with a potential preseason all american discussion would make some sense if he somehow doesn’t maintain this trajectory through March/April.

          • guestavo

            GMs, Scouts, Internet sites like DX have all said this isn’t a deep draft.

            Andrew Harrison’s metrics are worse than Caris’ and Caris is a player with tons of upside, yet you don’t hear people clamoring for him to leave this year.

            All I can tell the people who expect him to stay and not be a first rounder, be prepared to be disappointed.

          • JVS

            Some people hate Chad Ford, some hate DX, some hate everything. DX has Nik at 25, which if the draft were today, seems fair (and more or less what I said if Tim went at 23?). If the draft were the day after the Duke game, not sure it would say that. DX last week had him in at 33. What to take away from this? 2 things. 1) He had a good week. If he keeps having good weeks, great. He has to play against the big10’s best, then 2/week games against tourney field, he will need to maintain it to stay around 20-25, 2) “the internet” is hard to really use as a formal anchor/justification when the same expert sites change their mind so drastically week to week. They may accurately reflect scout buzz, but if they deviate so drastically based on two games, it may help to take a step back. [another example of this is Zach Levine]

          • Webbdog

            He could, but he would have to Improve Substantially. He would have to become a scorer on the level of Jimmer Fredette to become Lottery.

          • Webbdog

            Bottom line in My opinion, Nik and Caris Will have to attend the same Nike Skill Academy Summer Camps as Trey, THJ, GRII and McGary to truly find out where they stand as a Pro prospect. That is the New Barometer nowadays. Other than that?? They will Have to Blink out and practically become Consensus All American Basketball Players. 1st or 2nd team.

          • guestavo

            Nik is Canadian so I’m not sure he is eligible. Caris needs to attend those skills camps though, preferably Chris Paul’s or Durant’s.

          • Webbdog

            Must be a restriction for Canadian College players then. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QaokZUFeyg

          • Webbdog
          • kam

            Probably durants since he’s a wing. And durant is his fav player so I’m sure he’d go haha

          • guestavo

            Chatman somehow got to go to the Lebron AND Chris Paul Camp. Crazy.

          • Everyone that goes to the individual camps goes to the LeBron camp.

          • Webbdog

            I think you have to be a Top Performer at one of the other 3 camps, Point Guard/Big Man/Durant to be invited to play at Lebron camp.

          • kam

            Thats REALLY rare.. that just shows his PG skills are amazing for a 6’7 wing

          • Webbdog

            As a High school Student. They have the camps For Groups of High School players and another Group for College players And he is looked at as a Point Giuard ala Jalen Rose, Kyle Anderson. http://www.nikeeyb.com/skills-academies/rosters/

          • kam

            .

          • kam

            Jimmer scored more but shot a far less % than NIK.. Niks numbers all around are better than Jimmers besides points and he shot far more

          • guestavo

            He can be a mid first round pick this year. Jimmer had TONS of clutch moments and a usage rate that Nik will never see in JB’s offense.

          • Indiana_Matt

            While I don’t know that he’ll get much better, do you think he gets picked in a better position if he goes in the 2015 draft, due to the other talent on the board?

  • gobluemd16

    Regardless of whether he should go, shouldnt go, wants to go, my main hope in all of this is that it doesn’t distract the current team. This is a selfish thing to say (even from his dad), and I just hope other players don’t think about it and it doesn’t mess up any team chemistry. Sucks this comes out now while the team is on a roll.

    • kam

      lol you really think the players don’t talk about the NBA? I can bet you they talk about it together a lot.. Its their dreams. Im sure EVERYONE in that locker room knows Nik wants to be in the NBA.. Heck Glenn and Nik and Caris always post on instagram “money is the motive” and “lets get that money” This is only a distraction to us

      • kam

        and saying you want to go to the NBA is not a problem at all.. It only becomes a problem when a player plays selfishly and forgets the team just to get into the NBA.. Nik can scream “i wanna go to the NBA next year” every day for all i care as long as he plays hard and is a great teammate(like he has been) and keeps the team goal in mind as well haha

        • Webbdog

          Early on I think Nik did just that!! He has gotten better of late but early on he was out hunting shots and looking folk off. He took advantage of the fact he knew scouts would be there looking in on GRII and McGary. I saw it develop and hoped he would stop and get back to Team ball. I was really upset and knew what I thought was going on, was on point during the Duke game. It came to light with all his histrionics on the court. It blew up in his face and he had one of his worst games ever in a Wolverine Uniform. I hope it Humbled him.

      • gobluemd16

        Of course they talk about it. Talking about it versus thinking with one foot out the door are different things.

  • AADave

    I’m not surprised. I thought he was an NBA prospect from the minute he stepped foot on the court at Crisler. I think he’s actually underrated. He should be a lottery pick but he probably won’t be. The teams that pass on him will regret it.

  • A2MIKE

    Let’s not worry about this now. Still 6+ weeks of basketball left. Nik is playing really well, if he continues to play this well, he gone, but I bet we hang another banner in the process. If he doesn’t play well down the stretch, probably no banner, but he comes back next year. I see it as a win-win.