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Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Nik Stauskas


REMINDER: Voting is still open to pick some of this year’s #DraftDreams profiles.


  • Measurables: 6-foot-6, 190 pounds, sophomore guard from Michigan
  • Key Stats: 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists while shooting 48 percent and 45 percent from three
  • Projected: Mid-first round

Matters to No One But Me …

Stauskas attends Michigan. I attended Michigan.

There’s no question I have a stronger allegiance to Stauskas than other draft prospects because of that, though doesn’t mean I want the Pistons to pass over better prospects to draft him. I just wouldn’t mind him being the best prospect available when Detroit picks. See: Burke, Trey.

I also said Stauskas should have turned pro last season, because screw the NCAA, and I believed his skills would get him drafted, maybe even late in the first-round. Patrick gets full credit for seeing Draymond Green’s NBA potential before anyone else did, and I want one of those on my record. Patrick nails something like that at least once per year, though. I’ll gladly take just getting Stauskas correct for bragging rights.

Also, so much swag. I smile a lot while watching Stauskas play. Actually, that should matter to you, too. See more in the next section.

Fits with the Pistons because …

Shooter, shooter, shooter.

The Pistons are one of the NBA’s 3-point shooting teams, and Stauskas is one of the best shooters in college basketball. His range definitely extends to the NBA arc, so he should translate fairly well.

He has also increased his athleticism since last season, working out hard over the summer and then taking advantage of his newly chiseled form during the season. He can run the pick-and-roll and attack off the dribble, and he’s an underrated passer. Without Trey Burke, he’s really blossomed into an all-around player.

Stauskas is most definitely not just a shooter at the college level, which should help him in the NBA.

Players who just stand around and shoot in college generally don’t succeed at the top level. Stauskas will probably never be the center of an NBA offense like he is at Michigan, but those complementary skills should help get him on the court and do what he does best: shoot.

Stauskas also plays with tremendous swagger, blowing kisses and such. Despite all their athleticism, the Pistons have gotten stale as bad shots and mangled defense have become their defining characteristics. Rookies, even those who were exuberant in college, tend to fade into the background. But the potential for Stauskas to be really fun down the road certainly exists. That shouldn’t affect whether the Pistons draft him, but it’s a nice bonus.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

The Pistons can’t pick lower than eighth – if their pick falls after that, it goes to the Bobcats – and No. 8 might be too high to take Stauskas.

This is a stacked draft, and he’s just not up to level of Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Marcus Smart. That’s six players right there.

With a strong NCAA tournament and workouts, Stauskas could work his way into the next tier, but that’s a small margin for error. Tyler Ennis, Gary Harris, Aaron Gordon and Noah Vonleh already make strong cases for that range.

Also, even though he’s improved on that end, Stauskas is a questionable college defender. Those concerns only get magnified at the next level, when opponents get bigger and faster. Can Stauskas make another leap forward athletically? There have to be diminishing returns at some point.

From the Experts

Chad Ford:

"PositivesVersatile scoring guard Excellent shooter with deep range Incredible free throw shooterNegativesNeeds to add strength Not an elite athlete"


"While his draft stock has undoubtedly increased substantially as the year has moved on, concerns still exist among scouts regarding his lack of upside defensively, due to his unappealing combination of poor length, average frame and mediocre lateral quickness.Additionally, it remains to be seen the extent of which he will be able to create his own shot and finish around the basket against NBA caliber defenders, although he has made significant strides in dispelling those doubts this season.Nevertheless, the premium that teams are placing on perimeter shooting in today’s NBA has put Stauskas in an enviable position as a draft prospect, should he decide to capitalize on his increased stock this upcoming fall."