Title: CANADA BASKETBALL LOOKS AS STRONG AS EVER AFTER SUMMER OF DISAPPOINTMENT
Date: November 29, 2016
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice Canada, I looked at Nik Stauskas’ breakout as the bellwether for a strong start to the season for Canadian basketball players.
As the defense collapsed around Robert Covingtonn’s attack, Nik Stauskas calmly finished his route to the right wing, catching a pass on a smooth one-two and letting fly with one of the most aesthetically pleasing jump shots in the NBA. There was no hesitation, no overthinking, no delay. Gather, catch, and fire. Even if he missed his first two 3-point attempts in front of dozens of friends and family making the short trip to the Air Canada Centre, Stauskas’ confidence has grown beyond second-guessing himself.
A year ago, that wasn’t the case. The Mississauga, Ontario, export struggled through his first two seasons in the NBA, with the Kings pulling the plug a year after making him the No. 8 pick and the 76ers reaping few rewards from giving him the green light all of last year. Struggling early on is normal for young players, but Stauskas was even failing at his supposed specialty, shooting 32.5 percent on more than three 3-point attempts per game through two seasons.
Monday’s game against the Raptors was more emblematic of Stauskas in his third year, no less selective from long range but far more effective. He hit three triples versus Toronto, pushing his 3-point percentage to 45.1 percent through 18 games, a mark more in line with his pre-draft reputation and his delightful Sauce Castillo nickname. The key for Stauskas hasn’t been mechanical—the stroke was always pretty—but mental.