Rewinding the Process: Nik Stauskas played for the Sixers?

© Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

In his sophomore year of college at the University of Michigan, Nik Stauskas averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting over 44% from three.

Straight video game numbers.

After performing surprisingly well at the draft combine, Stauskas and his smooth-as-butter jumper were drafted 8th overall in the 2014 NBA draft.

Stauskas started his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings, a fit that was just never meant to be. Coming off the bench in 72 of 73 games, Stauskas averaged just 4.4 points per game his rookie season. Throw in the fact that his 3P% sat at a measly 32.2%, and it was obvious the Kings front office had made a mistake.

This was where Sixers GM at the time Sam Hinkie excelled. He knew the Kings wanted to get rid of Stauskas, and he planned to take advantage of this situation. Trading just two European prospects to the Kings, Hinkie would get back a haul which included Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, a future first round pick, and a future first round pick swap.

Acquiring Stauskas was right up the Sixers alley in 2015. Gearing up for what would become one of the worst seasons in NBA history (10-72), the 76ers front office was all for allowing guys like Stauskas to get some minutes. If he looks good? Then awesome, you found yourself a starting shooting guard. If he struggles? No worries, you spent next to nothing acquiring him.

For the most part, Stauskas’ time in Philly was pretty darn forgettable. Across 159 games and three seasons with the team, Stauskas averaged 8.7 points per game. His 3P% sat just below the league average of 35%, and his defense was routinely exposed.

Eventually Stauskas was traded away, being packaged together in a 2017 deal which saw himself and Jahlil Okafor be shipped out to Brooklyn. Despite shooting 40.4% from three during his time with the Nets (career high at the time), Stauskas did not receive an extension with the team.

Now officially a free agent, Stauskas agreed to terms with the Portland Trail Blazers. After 44 lackluster games with his new team, Stauskas was once again traded, this time to the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers. In a confusing mess of moves over the next three days, Stauskas was traded yet again, to the Rockets and then the Pacers. He was finally waived by Indiana, and signed back with Cleveland.

While Stauskas did shoot a career-high 42.9% from three with the Cavs, the 25 year old guard once again found himself without a contract at the end of the 2019 season. 

Despite being just 25 years old and coming off the best shooting year of his career, Stauskas received no legit NBA offers in the offseason. Realizing he was running out of options, Stauskas agreed to play in the EuroLeague. He signed a one year deal with a Spanish team: Kirolbet Baskonia.

Less than two months ago, Stauskas and Kirolbet agreed to part ways so Stauskas could undergo knee surgery. The ex-Michigan guard was released on February 12th, 2020.

Just 15 days after his release, Stauskas went on The Michigan Basketball Insider” podcast to discuss his future with professional basketball.

My main focus right now is just getting myself healthy after the surgery. I really don’t know what the next chapter brings for me but the goal for me is to always get back to the NBA at some point. I’ll continue working for that no matter what”.

Check out some of the other entries in our “Rewinding the Process” series:

Nerlens Noel:

Hollis Thompson:

Jahlil Okafor:

Dario Saric:

Mandatory Credit – © Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports