The Sixers Missing Link

4 of 5

March 24, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard

Nik Stauskas

(10) shoots the basketball against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings defeated the 76ers 107-106. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Middle Road

Should the team find the going tough at the point guard scoring scenario, they will not be scrambling for answers.  Similar to the roster depth coming on line, the team is placing depth and overlap onto the floor this season.

Nik Stauskas is a player with unrealized potential.  But the NBA is a league which finds plenty of scoring opportunities for a good shooting guard.   Of the 15 players who scored 20 or more points last season, 33% were shooting guards.  Nik Stauskas is absolutely not one of the league best.  In fact, his arrival to the Sixer team is a sign that the Sacremento Kings have already given up on the former first round draft selection.

But he has come back before.  Here’s a video of his work at Michigan:

So what’s the problem now?  Well the Sacramento Kings saw a player who had excellent range from outside the arc, and draft him for that reason.  Let’s examine a pair of shot analytics from  to illustrate what I’m referencing.  The first shot chart is the Michigan version of Stauskas.

What did they get?  Well things have a funny way of happening in the NBA.  Take a look at his shot chart in his first year with the Kings.

Stauskas is one of those shooters who you do NOT want to charge the basket. It’s not one of his best shots.  And that shot selection is what drove his playing time down, and his roster spot onto the “trade me” category.  So what do the Sixers have that is different?  Well, we’ll have those tall bodies in the area where Stauskas shot so often for the Kings.  He’ll need to learn to trust the plays here, and with a change of address, that is certainly enough of a wake up call to do just that. His rookie season hardly the NBA splash he had hoped for, save for a closed-captioning error that christened him with the nickname “Sauce Castillo.” He could never compete to earn enough playing minutes from Ben McLemore, a top-10 pick from the year before. Not enough floor time meant not enough time to progress. He averaged only 15.4 minutes per game, and scored on average just 4.4 points a night on 36.5 percent shooting (32.2 percent from deep).

But the change of address will do the young man wonders.   He will get his minutes in Philadelphia, and to a team that has the patience of Job, his progress should get back on track.  With a clearly defined role on this team, he will be able to focus on his mid-range and long range shots – which are clearly his strength.  The pressure will be off of him to excel with each possession, and that relaxation will allow him to find his NBA stature.  Stauskas has immediately benefited from the NBA draft for the 76ers.  He enters a back court ripe with opportunity.   He is a player with untapped potential.  He’s likely the starting shooting guard for the 2015 season.

Next: High Road