Nik Stauskas has been invisible lately for Brooklyn Nets

BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Nik Stauskas
BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Nik Stauskas /

When the Brooklyn Nets acquired Nik Stauskas, it was known that he was an addition to the big piece they received, Jahlil Okafor. Stauskas showed flashes of his shooting early on, but has disappeared recently for the Nets.

The former eighth overall pick of the Sacramento Kings, Nik Stauskas has always had a handle for shooting. He was traded to Philadelphia after his rookie season, and had two productive years in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

This season for the Sixers, Stauskas was a forgotten man, appearing in only six games. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets along with Jahlil Okafor for Trevor Brooker.

Stauskas came out with a bang in his Nets debut, scoring 22 points and hitting five three pointers on December 15th against Toronto. Outside of a few flashes since then however, his contribution has been minimal.

In the month of February he’s averaging just 9.8 minutes game, shooting barely over 20 percent from the floor and from the perimeter. This lack of playing time comes despite both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris Levert being out.

When Levert was on the court, Kenny Atkinson often tried to pair him with Stauskas. This was in an attempt to get back some of the chemistry they had during their Michigan days. The two players were trending in different directions when Levert went down, however.

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With the injuries to Levert and RHJ, the opportunity for wings to step up presented itself. A few others including Allen Crabbe took advantage.

Stauskas has been unable to stick in the rotation. One reason for this, aside from his streaky shooting is his defense. At six-foot-six, and 205 pounds, he’s not the most physically imposing player. When he gets switched onto larger, more athletic wings, he struggles defensively.

To be fair, Nik Stauskas hasn’t gotten enough playing time with the Brooklyn Nets to warrant a full evaluation of his skills. That is a product of both his play, and the improvement of some of his teammates.

With Jeremy Lin having opted into his contract for next season, the back court will be crowded once again in 2018-19. Stauskas will be a restricted free agent after this season, and likely won’t be back with the Nets.

NBA teams could always use another shooter however. Stauskas has a chance over the next 20 or so games to prove his value in the league. He may even change Brooklyn’s mind if he does so.