Michigan lost a lot of it's star power to the NBA this offseason, including sophomore shooting guard Nik Stauskas. In all likelihood, Stauskas will be the first Wolverine to get his name on the board Thursday night at the NBA Draft. Most mock drafts project Stauskas to get taken in the lottery, but others believe he will slip farther down in the first round. Here are the top five landing spots for Nik Stauskas:
1. Charlotte Hornets
The basketball world in Charlotte is finally looking up. The Bobcats made the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history last year, and Michael Jordan is bringing back the Hornets name to Charlotte. The Hornets have several decent shooting guards in Gary Neal and Gerald Henderson, but they lack a strong perimeter shooter beside Kemba Walker. Stauskas has the size to fill in at small forward now-and-then, and he could provide the outside shooting Charlotte needs.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
First of all, let's be clear. The 76ers are not taking Stauskas at number three overall. The Sixers also own pick number ten in the draft, where Stauskas would be available if the Hornets pass on him. The tenth pick will depend heavily on what the Sixers do at number three. They probably won't take Stauskas if they have already added wingman Andrew Wiggins or combo guard Dante Exum. But Joel Embiid seems to be the popular selection at third overall, so picking Stauskas would fill a need for the 76ers and create perhaps the best rookie tandem in the league.
3. Boston Celtics
The Celtics shot 33.3 percent on three-pointers last season, nearly last in the league. Stauskas would immediately fix their perimeter shooting woes and help Danny Ainge continue rebuild mode. The Celtics own picks 6 and 17, and they will almost certainly go with a big at six, probably Aaron Gordon or Julius Randle. Stauskas would fill the Celtics' need at shooting guard and be a nice complement to the power forward Boston likely takes at number six.
4. Chicago Bulls
Last season the Bulls tried to add the key perimeter shooter they wanted by grabbing Jimmer Fredette. Fredette isn't making the strides necessary to be a significant contributor in the NBA, and the Bulls may end up dealing Jimmy Butler in a trade for Kevin Love. Or they may end up adding Carmelo Anthony through free agency. The future in Chicago has a lot of questions, but Stauskas is a sure thing. His offensive game, shooting, size and basketball IQ would be valuable off the bench in Chicago. They could take Stauskas at picks 16 or 19.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Bulls aren't the only team in limbo this offseason. Minnesota continues to listen to offers for its star power forward Kevin Love, but owner Glen Taylor remains adamant Love will stay in the Twin Cities. The T-wolves got their shooter last offseason by signing Kevin Martin, but he may be out the door as part of a Kevin Love deal. In any case, Minnesota wants perimeter shooters to knock down shots off pretty passes from Ricky Rubio. If Stauskas is available at 13, maybe the T-wolves call his name.