Nik Stauskas expresses excitement on joining Sacramento Kings
Nik Stauskas is a Sacramento King. Late Thursday afternoon, the franchise made the native of Mississauga, Ontario the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Stauskas is expected to arrive from New York in the capital city tomorrow and be formally introduced on Saturday. Stauskas did, however, hop on a conference call with local media gathered at the Kings’ Experience Center in Downtown Sacramento after being taken by the Kings’ with the No. 8 selection.
- Stauskas on what it feels like to be a King: “Just a lot of excitement. I’ve heard only good things about the city and organization. I know they’ve got a great young core there. I’m just really excited to get in and help this team win some games.”
- The Kings made a trip to Chicago to see Stauskas and Bulls forward Doug McDermott a week-and-a-half before Thursday’s draft. Stauskas recalled the meeting. “They came to see me play in Chicago,” the 20-year-old guard said. “They saw me work out a little bit. I got a chance to sit down and talk with them. They only had good things to say about me, so I think coming in tonight that I knew it could’ve worked out.”
- By drafting Stauskas, the Kings now have a quandary at shooting guard. The status of Ben McLemore, the franchise’s first-round selection last year, is now up in the air. Stauskas, however, suggests that he’s versatile enough to play multiple positions. “I think moving forward in the NBA, I think I can play a little bit of one and also the two,” Stauskas said. “I know this team has kind of struggled trying to shoot the ball and obviously that’s probably the best part of my game to this point. So knocking down shots, spreading the floor is something I’m excited to do for this team.”
- Stauskas knows he must improve both his defense and strength at the next level. “You know I think that’s going to come with time,” Stauskas said. “I’m only 20 years old and I feel like I haven’t fully grown into my body yet, so I think that will come. Defensively, I think I can be a capable defender at the next level. I know I’m going to have to put in a lot of work and effort, but that’s been the case my whole career and I’ve made the necessary strides all the time.”
- Outside of his shooting, the former Wolverines guard drew interest from the Kings because of his ball-handling, playmaking ability and basketball IQ. He noted that he was “extremely aggressive” playing the pick and roll at Michigan, which could work well with center DeMarcus Cousins. “A lot of times, I would draw attention and that would lead to me kicking for open threes or dunks for our bigs,” Stauskas said. “Hopefully I can kind of bring that same skill into Sacramento.”
- Under head coach John Beilein, Stauskas played in a pro-style system. He noted that experience should help him with his transition to the NBA. “We kind of operate only through ball screens so I got a chance to do that a lot this year,” Stauskas said. “And I feel like that’s why I’m pretty confident I can play a little point guard at the next level. I’m just excited and feel like I’m ready to make this jump and I’m excited to get to work.”
- Stauskas also thinks that the level of competition he faced at Michigan will help him with his transition to the pros. He noted that there were several teams from the Big 10 Conference that made it to this year’s NCAA Tournament that Wisconsin, Michigan State as well as his Wolverines made it to the Elite Eight. “I went up against some pretty good players who were now playing in the NBA,” Stauskas said. “And hopefully, I can take that and use it to my advantage as far moving onto the NBA and making that next step.”
- Was Stauskas surprised to be picked as high as he was? “Not necessarily. I knew coming in today that Sacramento was a possibility and I knew they felt strongly about me. To be honest, I feel like I just bring a skill-set that not many people have. I bring a skill-set that’s needed in the NBA. I really take pride in being the eighth pick in the draft and I’m not going to let them down.”
- Stauskas said that Michael Malone has been a fan of his game and that the Kings head coach expressed his excitement to work with him “Coach Malone told me that he’s had his eye on me for a while now and he’s really excited to work with me,” Stauskas said. The 20-year-old guard also stated that he got to speak with all of the Kings front office as well as owner Vivek Ranadivé.
- There was debate among experts whether Stauskas or McDermott was the best shooter in this year’s draft. Not surprisingly, the new Kings guard feels like he is the better shooter of the two. “As much as I’ve expanded my game over the last couple of years, shooting is definitely the thing that I do best,” Stauskas said. “I take pride in that. Coming in, I feel like when I get my feet set and I get a good look at the basket, there’s not many people in the league that can knock down shots like I can. So I’m looking forward to bringing that skillset to Sacramento.”
- Stauskas on being compared to Klay Thompson: “I think that’s a pretty good comparison. I’m working to get my handle even better and put the ball on my floor more. Steph Curry’s a guy that over the last couple years I’ve really enjoyed watching. And you know if I could emulate anyone, I would probably emulate him. But obviously he brings a special skill not many people have. But as of right now, Klay is a guy who’s a fair comparison.”