Nik Stauskas is not Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette shoots the jumper against the Phoenix Suns. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

The Sacramento Kings selected Nik Stauskas to mixed reviews in this year’s NBA Draft. The lukewarm response has become more positive now that fans have had a few days to digest the selection of  the 20-year-old Canadian guard.

One of the immediate criticisms of the Stauskas choice was that he reminded fans of another recent Kings lottery pick. They weighed in on social media outlets like Twitter to offer their two-cents.

Like Stauskas, Jimmer Fredette is also a former Kings’ lottery pick. Like Stauskas, Fredette is a deadly shooter from beyond 3-point range. And like Stauskas, Fredette is also white. That, however, is where the armchair comparisons between the two players should end.

How do they differ?  By a lot, actually.  For starters, Stauskas is 6-foot-6 – the prototypical size for a player at the shooting guard position. Fredette, meanwhile, stands as a backcourt tweener at 6-foot-2.

Because of his size and better-than-advertised athleticism, Stauskas is more capable of getting his shot off at the NBA level than Fredette. One of Jimmer’s main challenges in his three seasons in the NBA has been his inability to create his own shot. As a member of the Kings, Fredette was at his best when he embraced a role as a spot-up shooter and was at his lowest when he had to break down opposing defenders with his handle.

Stauskas also has more upside than Fredette did coming out of college. Fredette played four seasons at BYU and didn’t come into his own until his junior season as a Cougar. Meanwhile it took Stauskas just two seasons of college basketball to make himself into an NBA lottery pick. The 20-year-old guard has a two-year head-start on building a career in the NBA that Fredette didn’t.

“There’s some similarities to the way he plays but they don’t play exactly the same way,” Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro said of Stauskas and Fredette. “(Stauskas is) a guy who can catch and shoot, a guy who can shoot off the dribble and his size and athleticism kind of, I think, sets him apart as a different player.”

Now, this piece is not meant to slight Fredette and talk up Stauskas. After all, I’m someone who admittedly thinks Sacramento would’ve been better off trading the pick (the draft rights to Doug McDermott to the Chicago Bulls for the 16th and 19th picks seems like a realistic deal the Kings passed on). But to mention Stauskas and Fredette in the same breath is inaccurate and downright lazy analysis.

“Where I hope they’re similar is if he can shoot it like Jimmer, that’s a pretty good thing,” D’Alessandro said. “That’s a really good thing and that’s what we’re looking for right? That’s a tribute to Jimmer because the guy can really shoot the ball.”

If you want to compare Stauskas to anyone, look at other playmaking two-guards in the NBA. The Kings rookie guard compares favorably to someone like Jamal Crawford or if you’re shooting for the stars, Manu Ginobili. Like Stauskas, both men have shown an ability to shoot from long-range off the catch or the bounce as well as serve as secondary playmakers for their respective teams.

Stauskas himself sees his game somewhat resembling that of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson.  Like Thompson did three years ago, Stauskas pointed out that he’s coming into the NBA with questions about his defense he hopes to eventually answer.

“I think that’s one thing I wanna become like him is make those steps up in defense,” Stauskas said.  “I think at this point, I get to the basket a little more than he does and I’ma distribute to my teammates a little bit more in the pick and roll.  Our games overall are a little bit different, but I think there are some similarities.”

Just don’t compare Nik Stauskas to Jimmer Fredette. Again, no disrespect to the former Kings guard. But he and the Kings’ newest addition are two players that are just nothing alike.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.