CHICAGO -- The Sixers need shooting. Where they get it in the upcoming draft is to be determined.
I don’t think it will come via their first-round selection, a pick guaranteed to be in the top five. The talent there is geared toward other things.
Should they get to use New Orleans' projected pick at No. 10, shooters will be available. Among them will be Nik Stauskas, a two year, 6-foot-6 player out of Michigan who averaged 17.5 points while shooting 44.2 percent from behind the arc this past season.
Stauskas was in Chicago for the NBA draft combine, but he did not participate in the first day of shooting drills despite that being his expertise.
“Watching the drills before the combine started and knowing that there was going to be a lot of jump shooting, that is the strongest part of my game and teams already know I can shoot the ball,” Stauskas explained. “Coming in I felt even if I had a great day shooting the ball, it wasn’t going to do much for me because they already know that is my strength.”
If his college numbers aren’t enough to convince how good a shooter he is, just ask Doug McDermott or Joe Harris who workout with Stauskas daily in Chicago these days and are two highly-rated shooting prospects as well.
“When we go through our workouts we are usually in the 80-85 percent range,” Harris said of the percentage of shots that are made by each player.
They shoot between 350 to 500 shots a session per guy.
“We compete against each other and it allows you to convert at a higher clip," Harris continued. "Nik probably consistently is always in the 85-90-percentile range. On a given day we have to be better than that to beat him."
Further evidence of Stauskas’ sharpshooting exists on YouTube. He and his dad went to his backyard and, with Dad rebounding, Stauskas made 102 three-pointers in five minutes.
Stauskas is projected to go mid first round. Like McDermott, who will likely go ahead of him, Stauskas’ lack of foot speed is a weakness.
In Friday’s agility drills, he set out to prove otherwise.
“As far as the physical testing goes, I think I can surprise some people,” Stauskas said. “I don’t think people realize I can jump the way I do or run the way I do.
“I can be a guy who immediately stretches the floor and make shots. That is something I have always been able to do. But I think teams are going to be surprised when I have the ball in my hands, the plays that I can make for myself and others. I just feel I am a guy with a high IQ. I really like to make the right play out there.”
And he is hoping to become a comparable NBA player to a few sharpshooters in the game today.
“I watch a lot of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson,” Stauskas said of the Warriors' backcourt. “If I could model my game after those two guys a little bit that would be great.”
Curry ranked 10th in three-point shooting percentage (42.4) this past regular season and Thompson was 11th (41.7).
Stauskas is also very thoughtful answering questions. Sam Hinkie, like many NBA front office people, put heavy stock in talking to prospects face to face.
“I am a good person, really hard working and I come from a great family,” Stauskas said. “I think that is important for most people to know. I am not doing this because I want money, obviously the money is great but I am really doing this because I love the game of basketball.
“This is what has made me happy since I was seven or eight years old. I think if teams really get that vibe from me they are really going to like that.”