The Sixers won 10 games this past season. We all know that, and we're all very aware of the consequences of such a dire season. After such a dismal, horrific season, it makes sense that the team deserves at least a minor overhaul, with many of the players who couldn't hack it getting shipped out.
And yet, of the 5 worst players on the roster that we've written about for Sixers' Tinder, 4 have a majority of voters who believe they should remain on the team next year. Kendall Marshall appears to be the only reason this team was historically bad this year. And, I mean, come on. There's a lot more wrong with this team than Kendall Freaking Marshall.
I'm swiping left on Nik. He's not a NBA-level player, and I don't see a reasonable path for him to become a key cog on a contending team.
Stauskas' NBA-talent was always predicated on his offensive skillset. As a sophomore at Michigan, he shot 44% on 6 3FGA's per game and doled out a solid (for a wing) 3.3 assists per game to boot. Between his shooting and his plausible creation skills, it seemed plausible that he could become at least a secondary playmaker at the NBA-level, someone who could not only bring ace shooting and floor-spacing ability, but who also had the ability to unlock scrambling defenses, handle in the pick-and-roll, and perhaps evolve into a secondary star on a legitimate title contender.
Two years later, none of that play has translated to the NBA.
The only thing that has appeared even remotely acceptable has been Stauskas' catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, but even there, he has failed to eclipse 33% shooting in 146 games. His 32.6% from 3 this season sandwiches him neatly in between Ricky Rubio, one of the worst shooters in NBA history, and Luc Mbah a Moute, who, if we'll recall, shot so poorly that this Sixers' team didn't see fit to bring him back this season.
This is not a good look. What's more, it is consistent with his play in Sacramento, where he shot 32.2%, and it remained relatively constant throughout the season. Despite two hot shooting months in January and February, where Stauskas shot above 40% from 3, the other 4 months of the NBA season saw him shoot below 33%.
The sad news is that his 3-point shooting has probably been Stauskas's brightest spot.
Stauskas has been especially profligate finishing at the rim this year. He has largely improved in his shot selection, with 85% of his shots coming within 3 feet of the hoop, or from beyond the 3-point line. However, he has had little relative success scoring from both spots. While we have already detailed his shooting problems, his finishing has been profligate, too, as he has converted only 52% of his shot attempts within 3-feet. That places him third worst on this Sixers' team among players who appeared in more than 10 games, topping only Isaiah Canaan and Ish Smith.
That's really bad, and it portends poor offensive ability later in his career. Typically, a players' NBA production is a better indicator of future production than his college production, and Nik's NBA production has been plain bad. Players just don't improve from his level of awful to become useful to contenders. And we haven't even touched on Nik's poor assist rate and burgeoning turnover rate.
It appears unlikely that he will ever be a positive offensive player. If Nik were a star on defense, that wouldn't be too big of a problem. Unfortunately for Stauskas, he may be one of the worst wing defenders in the league. He has been a terrible on-ball defender since his days at Michigan, where this compilation detailed his struggles:
He hasn't gotten any better since joining the NBA. In a basic statistical manner, he has managed a DBPM of -2.0 in 2014-15 and -1.9 in 2015-16. In those two years, his DRating has been 113, while his teams have each posted ratings of 109.2. That means that, in a crude comparison, his teams, already very poor defensively by NBA standards, have managed to give up an additional 3.8 points per 100 possessions with Stauskas on the floor. That is a shocking number.
Even more damning is NBAWowy's On/Off metric, which shows the Sixers allowing 111 points per 100 possessions with Stauskas on the floor, but only 90 points per 100 possessions with him off. That's a 21 point swing per 100 possessions, largely due to Stauskas's ineptitude.
Add to that an inability to create blocks or steals and mediocre physical tools, and it seems utterly clear that Stauskas will never be an average defender.
At least we'll always have that random outburst against the Suns in January.
I'm swiping left on Nik. He can't defend. He can't create. He can't finish. And he can't shoot (in game flow). He most definitely does not rock.
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