As we get closer to the draft, it’s time to talk about possible draft picks for the Hornets. Over the next month, we will preview guys that could end up going to the Hornets at either picks number 9, 24, or 45. Also during this time span, we will preview other options the Hornets have such as trading picks or available free-agents. Stick with us for original analysis and predictions all summer long!
Player Essentials: Nik Stauskas
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way, Nik Stauskas will be a high-pick because of his ability to convert from beyond the arc with ease. In his freshman season at Michigan, while only averaging 11 points a contest, Stauskas shot a stunning 44% percent from three-point range, but received limited opportunities due to the presence of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. who took the majority of the Wolverines’ shots. The next season, after deciding to return for his sophomore year, Stauskas played the star role on an elite-eight Michigan team, averaging 17.5 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.9 boards per contest. Amazingly enough, despite being forced to take more difficult shots as the team’s best player, Stauskas still managed to shoot 44.2% from three and 47% from the floor his sophomore year. In my opinion, the Michigan product would fit nicely into the Hornets’ offense as someone who could space the floor for Al Jefferson.
Contrary to his offensive display, despite having the prototypical body-type for an NBA shooting-guard (6’6”, 207 lbs), Stauskas occasionally struggled stopping his opponents at Michigan, which could be a turn-off for the Hornets especially considering the team’s defensive focus. These defensive issues were magnified at the combine where Stauskas displayed below-average lateral quickness and a short wingspan for his size at only 6’7.
Similarly to Doug McDermott, Stauskas has been projected by many experts to to fall near the top half of the first round in the draft:
Overall, as someone who watched nearly every game of his college career, I’m in love with Nik Stauskas’ ability to shoot the basketball, defend, and take control of a game offensively. While he might have some issues on the defensive end of the court, Stauskas would be able to make significant contributions to next year’s Hornets team offensively, not only shooting the rock, but also giving opponents somebody else to think about other than Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker. If Stauskas were to be drafted by the Hornets, you can guarantee that I will be the first in line at the team shop to buy his jersey this summer.
Lead Hornets Writer: Jonathon Hoppe