Nik Stauskas was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft but, with few exceptions, the former Michigan standout has operated in anonymous fashion during his professional career. The 6’6 guard appeared for three teams in his first four NBA seasons and, prior to the 2018-19 campaign, Stauskas inked a deal with a fourth squad in the Portland Trail Blazers.
Though the 25 year old did not appear right away in the team’s season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers, Stauskas made an immediate impact upon coming into the game. The reserve wing entered the game at the 2:18 mark of the first quarter and, over the next five minutes and 27 seconds, Stauskas exploded for 16 points while knocking down his first six shots from the floor.
Stauskas would eventually miss a shot in the first half but that inevitability didn’t take away from what he was able to accomplish. When Stauskas came into the game, the Blazers were losing by a score of 29-28 but his individual rampage was a big part (along with the brief absence of LeBron James from the proceedings) of Portland snatching a double-figure lead and that can’t be ignored.
The journeyman shooting guard finished the night with 24 points in 27 minutes, and while he didn’t light it up at quite the rate he did in the first half, his presence was still known in the second half, including a clutch three-pointer late to essentially put the game away for Portland.
Nik Stauskas was arguably the story of a game that featured James, Damian Lillard and a number of intriguing story lines. Needless to say, that wasn’t something that anyone predicted.