Drafted: 8th Pick – Sacramento Kings
Key Stat: He’s a 6′ 7″ shooting guard
Playing Time Outlook = B-
The Sacramento Kings have a talented roster, but lack the cohesiveness that successful Kings teams in the early 2000’s had. The trio of DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas is actually pretty good, but the Kings have trouble closing games out in the 4th quarter – which is part coaching & part the players fault. Gay and Cousins are going to return – IT2 is a restricted free-agent, who’s likely to see interest from other teams this summer. As a side note, if Thomas were to leave, that could open the door for last years 2nd round pick Ray McCollum – who had some nice games last year – so you might want to check out his cards. The Kings drafted Ben McLemore last season, and while he was 4th on the team in scoring – he shot a mediocre 37.6% from the field. If Thomas were to leave and McLemore doesn’t improve (or gets injured), Nik Stauskas could easily be a starter on this team. He will have to prove that he can guard quicker or skilled shooting guards – but being rather tall for his position should help Nik most nights. Even if McLemore plays better, and the Kings re-sign Thomas, I could see Stauskas getting minuets during the season. He may not see consistent night-to-night playing time, but there will be times during the 14/15 season where he’ll get a chance to shoot. The NBA in general is trending towards a 3pt shooting league, so if Nik can knock down that shot more consistently than McLemore, he has a great shot at playing time on this team. Do keep your expectations tempered however – with Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins healthy, they will get the bulk of the shots … but should open up 3pt shots for Nik.
Star Power = B-
The city of Sacramento is a big city, but it’s actually considered small compared to other markets in California and around the NBA. Unlike most large markets there is no MLB team, no NFL team, and no NHL team to compete with. Kings players might not be appreciated around the country, but people in Sacramento & the surrounding area hold the players in high regard considering it’s the only professional game in town. Kings fans were once excited about lottery pick Jimmer Fredette, until he flamed out quickly in the NBA. Given the somewhat tough demeanor of DeMarcus Cousins, and the fact Rudy Gay isn’t a homegrown product – the Kings fans will get behind Nik. While there might not be a ton of Kings fans, it does raise Nik’s star power potential. Combine that with the potential of playing time, and scoring points via the 3pt shot – I believe Nik has above average star power potential going into his rookie season.
Card Values = C
Playing in a small market does have it’s downside – and so does collecting players in those markets … especially if you want the cards to go up. If Cousins or Thomas played in larger markets (like Los Angeles or New York) … they’d likely be bigger stars and their cards would be worth more. The overall lack of interest in the Sacramento Kings outside the immediate area will hurt Stauskas’ ability to have big card values. Unlike top picks, or players going to big markets like the Lakers, Stauskas will have to earn his card values by playing well. In the long term, if he can prove he can play defense and knock down a 3pt shot – he could develop into a Chandler Parsons type player … and certainly have value. If he can’t play D, and shoots a low % from the three-point line, he’ll be out of the NBA like Jimmer.
Girlfriend Hotness Grade = A
As a side note, while searching for information about Nik, I ran across several photos of him with his girlfriend. If you take your eyes off the pretty blonde, you can also see how skinny Nik is … and he will have to bulk up a bit in order to stay in the NBA.
Over the next week we will be grading the top 10 NBA draft picks here on Basketball Card World. Below are links to the players we’ve covered so far:
6th Pick – Marcus Smart
7th Pick – Julius Randle
9th Pick – Noah Vonleh
10th Pick – Elfrid Payton