True, Nik Stauskas has yet to replicate his season opening performance against the Lakers. Even with his recent reduction beyond the paint these last few games, he is still shooting 40 percent beyond the arc and averaging 8.3 PPG in 19.5 minutes off the bench for Portland. Signed for a one-year, $1.62-million veteran minimum deal, it makes his contract one of the steals so far this off season.
In a recent article by Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune, Eggers highlighted the guard’s journey and how his role has benefited the organization and the former Michigan star greatly. Selected 8th overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2014, Nik was forced into turmoil without a choice. After four seasons on the three worst franchises in the last decade -the Kings, Sixers and Nets - a desperate change was needed.
In Eggers’ article, Nik spoke about what happened on Day 1 of Free-Agency and why agent Mark Bartelstein advised him to see Portland as his best opportunity to succeed.
”I talked a little with the Lakers, and Mark talked to other teams as well. But from the get-go, Mark was like, ‘I don’t think we’re going to find an opportunity as good as Portland…
We decided it wasn’t worth waiting for another opportunity for more money. We thought this would be the right opportunity for my career.”
Still only 25 years of age, Nik has shown flashes of being that highly touted guard many teams looked at on Draft Night four years ago. On a team that values shooting and driving to hole, Nik’s role has fit him like a glove so far this season.
”We got him because he could help us spread the court with his 3-point shooting, Dame said. “And that’s been an important weapon for us off the bench. But Nik has shown he can do a lot more than that.”
”I knew about Nik, what a good athlete he is,” Leonard said, who knew him before joining the team from his wife’s brother who played with him.
...He’s not just a standstill shooter. In our offense, there are a lot of pin-downs, a lot of movement, and a guard who can shoot and do multiple things, what I call a ‘plug-and-play’ player, is going to be successful.”
It’s still a long season ahead of us, but so far it looks like while some free agents have yet to thrive in their new environments, Stauskas has taken his opportunity and run with it.
”It’s been enjoyable. I’m excited for the rest of the year and really happy I made the decision to come here.”
To read Eggers’ article in it’s entirety, click through.