Analyzing How Nik Stauskas Can Become Manu

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Apr 10, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Nik Stauskas (10) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison (4) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It came as no surprise that the Kings wanted Stauskas to be a shooter for their team last year. While playing college ball for the Wolverines, his speciality was his range. He averaged 2.6 made three pointers per game, and shot with an accuracy of 44.2%. Nearly half of his 17.5 points per game in his senior year came from his three pointers.

What we saw in Sacramento, though, was a push for too much shooting from Stauskas. As he said on the Free Association podcast, he was pigeon holed, and expected to be a shooter. He needed more freedom, similar to what he had at Michigan. The freedom he had there allowed him to comfortably shoot from beyond the arc, but not be afraid to get closer as well.

When looking at Manu, we see two huge parts of his shooting that make Manu, well, Manu. Three pointers and layups. Fancy layups. But style doesn’t get you more points, unfortunately for Manu. He does shoot in other places, but relies mostly on his three point shot and his layup.

Why is this? Well, Manu has quick feet and can change up his direction in the paint swiftly, weaving through any defenders in the paint. His three point shot is decent, but not fantastic. His career percentage is 36.8%, and he shot 34.5% last season.

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  • Stauskas shot just 32.2% last season from the three point line, a drastic fall from the 45% we saw in his last year of college. He relied mainly on his three, and the offense seemingly forced him to be a shooter last year, as over half of his shots attempted were from beyond the arc, 6.2% more than Manu.

    Instead, in Philly, I think lowering the amount of shots attempted that are three pointers to a level that is like Manu could be beneficial. Taking more layups could help him score, and give him a bit more freedom.

    Manu drove in more, and was able to draw fouls to his advantage. He averages 27 And-1’s a season, while Stauskas only had four last year in Sacramento.

    Stauskas has some more trouble with defenders in the paint, and we often only saw him going into the lane if he had a clear open path. Working on ball handling and shooting with an off hand and off balance could help this. Manu hits a lot of layups that not many other players can hit. With his right hand (off hand), on one foot, or no look shots. Manu does it all.

    One of my thoughts regarding Stauskas and his three point shooting is that it won’t really pick up until Kendall Marshall is in the lineup. Marshall is known to be a facilitator (8.8 assists per game in 2914), and Stauskas doesn’t shoot threes unless he’s getting set up to do so. Nearly 80% of his three pointers were assisted last season, a number similar to Manu’s. Only around 45% of their two pointers were assisted, to put that into perspective.

    Having a lack of a true passer for the Sixers in the beginning of the year could set Stauskas up to have some freedom.

    Next: Fan Consensus & Predicting If Stauskas Can Be Manu