In this installment of our series before June 26’s draft, we examine a guard with plenty of range that the Sixers could target at No. 10:
Position: Shooting Guard
Stauskas elevated his draft stock significantly after an outstanding sophomore season at Michigan that saw him win Big Ten Player of the Year honors and lead the Wolverines to the regular-season championship in the best conference in the country. Stauskas and Michigan fell agonizingly short of advancing to a second straight Final Four, losing to Kentucky on a last second Aaron Harrison three-pointer in the Elite 8.
As a freshman at Michigan, Stauskas established himself as one of the best shooters in the country. He did nothing to change that as a sophomore, shooting 44 percent from three-point range for the second straight season. More importantly, Stauskas enhanced his all-around game, showcasing the ability to get to the basket and demonstrating his terrific ballhandling and passing skills. In more than 35 minutes per game as a sophomore, Stauskas averaged 17.5 points and 3.3 assists while connecting on 47 percent of his field goal attempts.
I have the 76ers selecting Stauskas with the 10th overall pick in my CSNPhilly.com mock draft. He would represent tremendous value in the latter stages of the lottery.
Stauskas is neck-and-neck with Creighton's Doug McDermott for the title of best shooter in this year's draft. See for yourself in this youtube video that shows him making an astonishing 70 of 76 three-pointers in a five-minute span in his parents' driveway. Granted no one is guarding him in the video, but he has proven that he is comfortable shooting the ball with a hand in his face. Stauskas is also incredibly efficient moving without the ball and shooting off of screens, a trait that will serve him well in the NBA.
He was overshadowed as a freshman at Michigan by Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., both of whom were first-round picks last year. But Stauskas took over the role of leading man as a sophomore and kept the Wolverines among the country's elite teams. Opponents focused on stopping Stauskas each game, yet he was able to turn in a tremendous season. He's not just a scorer -- he creates scoring opportunities for his teammates as well.
Stauskas' offensive repertoire is well rounded. He also has good size for a shooting guard. Those unfamiliar with his skill set will label him as a spot-up shooter in the NBA. That won't be the case. Stauskas is able to score in a variety of ways and is an underrated athlete. His offensive game will translate very well at the next level.
Stauskas' defense is the biggest question mark. Is he athletic enough to stay with NBA shooting guards and small forwards? Stauskas won't be named to any all-defensive teams in the NBA, but his overlooked athleticism will prevent him from becoming a total liability on the defensive end.
Stauskas will also have to prove he is capable of creating his own shot. His crafty ballhandling skills will help on that front, but don't expect to see him breaking down elite perimeter defenders with regularity. Stauskas is more effective using screens to his advantage and spreading the floor.
How he'd fit with the Sixers
Perfectly. The Sixers are in desperate need of shooters to complement Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and whomever they draft with the third pick. Nobody in this draft shoots the ball better than Stauskas. Defenses always have to account for a shooter like Stauskas when he's on the floor. This would open up driving lanes for Carter-Williams and create more room inside for post players like Noel to operate.
Stauskas and Carter-Williams would form a dynamic backcourt. Both have good size and their skill sets complement one another very well. Stauskas is a solid enough ballhandler and decision-maker to play point guard in a pinch. Brett Brown would also have the option of bringing Stauskas off the bench. He would thrive in that role, providing instant offense the minute he enters the game.
People tend to go the spot-up shooter route here (Kyle Korver, Mike Miller, etc.) but the Warriors' Klay Thompson is a more accurate comparison. Like Thompson, Stauskas is a lights out shooter but can also score in other ways. Both players are in the 6-6, 6-7 range and have similar builds. In three NBA seasons, Thompson is a 41 percent three-point shooter. That is a reasonable expectation for Stauskas.
Late lottery (10th to 14th pick).