Could Nik Stauskas be the long-lost Splash Brother?

Photo by Blake Ellington

Who is this kid? Some (incorrectly) say Jimmer Fredette 2.0. But a combination of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry is being tossed around.

The comparisons between the 6'6" Nik Stauskas and the 6'2'' Jimmer Fredette are just as amusing as they are frequent. Regardless of where you stand on that, there is another player that the Kings rookie compares himself to: Klay Thompson.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive took that comparison a bit further on Saturday when he referred to Stauskas as a mixture of the Splash Brothers, calling him "Klay Curry" at the introductory press conference with the Sacramento media.

That's pretty high praise for a guy who hasn't played a game in the NBA yet, but something many Kings fans surely welcome. The comparison to Thompson is mainly because of their size and shooting ability.

You can see their shooting forms are similar in these videos

Stauskas admits that he and Thompson are different players with different skillsets, however.

"I get to the basket a little bit more than he does and I distribute to my teammates a little bit more in the pick and roll. Our games, overall are just different. We're not the exact same player, but I think there are some similarities," Stauskas said.

Stauskas' ability to create off the dribble is one of the main things that separated him from Doug McDermott in the eyes of the Kings front office in Thursday's draft. But there are always doubts, and the biggest one with Stauskas is his defense. Head coach Michael Malone, who coached Thompson and Stephen Curry in Golden State, uses Thompson as an example of why folks should give the Michigan standout a chance to improve in that area.

"When we took Klay out of Washington State our first year in Golden State at 11, we knew we were getting one of the better shooters in the draft with size. No one at that time talked about him being an elite defender, which he has kind of turned into. He's kind of turned into their best perimeter defender in Golden State," Malone said. "So everybody wants to criticize Nik about 'is he going to be able to guard?' Well, let's give him a chance. Let's let him learn the NBA and continue to work and get bigger and get stronger, and I think he'll have no problem doing that."

Thompson's defense is something Stauskas wants to emulate.

"When Klay came into the league … I think people questioned his defense and then over the last couple of years, he's actually become a very, very good defender in the NBA and I think that's one thing that I want to become like him where as make those steps up in defense," Satuskas said.

And then there is Stauskas' ability to play off the pick and roll. Here's Malone.

"The one difference - when Klay came into the NBA, he was not as comfortable playing pick and roll and being a facilitator as much as Nik is. I think that's a big difference."

But wait, Ranadive compared Stauskas to the other Splash Brother too with his "Klay Curry" reference. It is worth noting that while he accepts the comparisons to Thompson, Stauskas typically follows that up with how he wants to eventually become more like Curry.

"He's a guy that I think is extremely crafty with the ball and obviously, he shoots it very well off the dribble and off the catch so, those are guys that I think I play like and hopefully I can continue that moving forward," said Stauskas, who was a big fan of Jason Williams growing up and used to call himself "White Chocolate."

As Malone acknowledges, Thompson is more of a catch and shoot player, but Curry can also score off the bounce. The coach referenced the different ways in which Stauskas can score as one of the main things you could point to if comparing him to Curry.

"Nik is a guy who can get threes like Steph Curry, he can dribble, pick and roll, shoot a pull up three, so that's where you get some of the Steph Curry comparisons," Malone said.

Again, Nik Stauskas is no where near the level of Curry or Thompson right now - he has no experience in the NBA, after all.

Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro wouldn't go as far as comparing individual aspects of Stauskas' game to the Golden State sharpshooters, but said they have similar work ethics.

"Everything you know about those guys [Thompson and Curry], they're basketball players, they're gym rats, they're guys who love to be in the gym - Chris Mullin type players - and we see him as one of those type of mentality players, and that's a huge thing for us," D'Alessandro said.

D'Alessandro commented on the Stauskas-Fredette comparisons also.

"Nik is 6'6'' at the shooting guard … there are some similarities to the way he plays, but they don't play exactly the same way. It's a guy who can catch and shoot, a guy who can shoot off the dribble and his size and athleticism kind of, I think, sets him apart as a different player," D'Alessandro said. "And that's not a knock on Jimmer, I just think they're different. Where I hope they're similar is if he can shoot it like Jimmer, that's a pretty good thing."

With all of this said, the numbers should be compared. So here are the career college stats of Stauskas, Fredette, Thompson and Curry.

Points

Assists

Rebounds

FG%

3P%

Years

Stauskas

14.1

2.3

2.9

46%

44%

2

Thompson

17.9

2.6

4.8

42%

39%

3

Curry

25.3

3.7

4.5

46%

41%

3

Fredette

18.7

3.7

2.6

45%

39%

4

What do these stats mean? Nothing really. Not until we see Stauskas step onto an NBA floor.

In the end, Stauskas isn't Jimmer Fredette (he really, really isn't in my opinion due to his size and the other aspects of his game). Could he be similar to Klay Thompson or Steph Curry? Maybe. For the Kings' sake, we can all certainly hope he is. We'll get a glimpse next month in Summer League.

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