Nik Stauskas Knows this is a Make-or-Break Season
Entering his third NBA season, its put up or shut up time for Nik Stauskas - and he knows it.
"It's a big year," Stauskas admitted. "Coming into my third year now, I can't really make excuses anymore. "It's time for me to make the improvements that I have been trying to make over the last two years.
Stauskas hasn't done much since coming into the NBA, the former eighth overall pick in the same draft that included Joel Embiid and Dario Saric has been about as productive as the two guys, and neither has played an NBA minute yet.
"I think the last few weeks, just being with the team and through training camp, I'm starting to show those improvements and I'm happy with the way I'm playing," Stauskas explained. "Now its just time to carry that over into the games."
Stauskas has the ability to be a productive NBA player, he can shoot from long-distance and has the ability to take the ball to the basket. One issue for him over his first two seasons in the league seems to be confidence, which he admits, but thinks that issue is behind him now.
"I know I belong now," Stauskas stated. "So many times those first two years, I was just wonder where I fit in, this is the first time in my NBA career when I've said I know I belong here and compete at this level."
The 76ers picked up Stauskas in a trade from the Kings to acquire a first-round pick, so they aren't really tied to him or looking at him as a player who they were counting on, more hopeful that he could live up to the billing over the No. 8 overall pick.
Last season he struggled to get consistent playing time behind guys like Robert Covington, Isaiah Canaan, JaKarr Sampson and Hollis Thompson.
Not what the Sixers envisioned when they acquired him from the Kings.
"I think it is a big year for him," confirmed Sixers coach Brett Brown. "He's had a great summer, we were very clear communication-wise what we're going to be looking for from him."
What the Sixers will be look for from him is more consistency; he has struggled to find his shot so far in his two NBA seasons, shooting just 32.5% from beyond-the-arc.
One thing when you look at Stauskas at this camp, his body has changed, while he still has that bounce, and athletic build, he looks like he bigger and more prepared to handle the rigors of the NBA schedule.
"I think that his body has changed," Brown described. "We've talked to him about having a swagger, I want him to be a cocky scorer, we want him feeling good about himself and it started with his body and he did that over the summer. So far what he has done at Stockton, reflects the great summer that he had."