The Bulls need a shooter, and there might not be a better one available in this month's draft than Michigan's Nik Stauskas.
So what do you think, Nik? Would you like to suit up in red and white? Play in the House That Jordan Built?
“I’ve worked out with the Bulls, and I have interviewed with them," Stauskas told CSN's David Kaplan on Monday's edition of SportsTalk Live. "I love the city of Chicago, and like you said, they do need a shooter. So I think it would be great if it ended up working out.”
Stauskas has been living and working out in Chicago as he prepares for the draft. And while he has worked out for the Bulls and he does seem to fit a team need, there's one potential problem: He might not be around when the Bulls go on the clock at No. 16. The Bulls' need for a scorer at shooting guard has been well-documented during the Derrick Rose Era, at least since the departure of Ben Gordon. Low-scoring defensive specialists such as Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer and Kirk Hinrich have served in big roles, and even current starter Jimmy Butler (who's also shown the ability to play small forward) isn't known for his shooting skills. If he's still around come the No. 16 pick, could Stauskas be the answer?
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Stauskas was the Big Ten's third leading scorer last season, averaging 17.5 points per game. His 44.2 3-point percentage ranked second in the conference, as did his 92 made 3-pointers. He proved durable, too, averaging 35.6 minutes per game. The Michigan product's stock has been rising of late, but despite the hype, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year is trying to prove he's more than just a sharpshooter — and he knows his game has its weaknesses.
“This year with what I showed at Michigan, I think people started to figure out that I was a basketball player, I wasn’t just a shooter," Stauskas said. "That’s something I was happy about, but still I feel like I have a lot to prove with just getting to the basket and maybe getting a little stronger. At the same time, I feel like I need to prove I can play defense. That’s been kind of the biggest knock on my game throughout my career is just my ability to defend. Obviously moving to the next level, the NBA, the two-guards that I’m going to be guarding are all very talented, they can all dribbled, they can all shoot. So just being able to show that I’m capable of doing that is what I’m really focused on.”
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If you're looking for a comparison, Stauskas has his own. He thinks he resembles some kind of mixture of the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, who have made the Warriors a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference. That's pretty impressive billing. While he might not be at the level of those two marksmen quite yet, he'd love for his skill set to someday mirror their's.
“Right now, I really like Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. Those are two guys where if I could almost put their games together into one, that’s what I would hope that I could play like," he said. "I think right now, I’m a little bit more similar to Klay, but those two guys just the way they shoot it and the way they can get to the basket, put the ball on the floor and do a whole bunch of things on offense, that’s just what I’m trying to model my game after.”
If the Bulls could land a player who reached the scoring prowess of the Golden State duo, that would be one heck of a successful draft. But another team could snap Stauskas up before the Bulls even get a chance. Still, it's got to be an exciting thing for Bulls fans to think about.