While I know that most of us are not willing to let IT22 go and rightfully so given how much he has embodied the identity of the Kings during the darkest days, taking the glass half-full approach. I do not want to touch that him since I can see both sides of retaining him or not. I think we can see that Nik was not a do-over for Ben but an actual complement who can play 1 if needed and possibly some 3.
I really think that Ben McLemore will have a much better season this year. I think the FO and Malone knew that he would take some time to develop but his "ceiling," a more explosive Ray Allen, is still on track. There is nothing wrong with that stroke other than it doesn't splash over 32% of the time from 3. He still could have won the dunk contest if the format wasn't whack, he didn't listen to Shaq and pulled out the 720. Even in this deeper draft, he is probably draft ahead of Stauskas based on that athleticism, the shooting form, and 49% shooting/ 42% from 3 in college.
I think that Stauskas is much more NBA ready than Ben Mac was a year ago. Nik played one of the most efficient offense in all of college basketball under Beilein at Michigan and when Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr went off to be first round draft picks, he became the go-to guy for offense and as a facilitator (because defenses tried everything to stop him from scoring and couldn't.)
Even with four first round picks (McGary, too) and a second (Robinson III) as the starting 5 by the end of his freshman year, the Michigan offense ran more efficiently his sophomore year without the 3 other first round picks when Nik was facilitating (highest KenPom rating ever.) He was second among all shooting guards with a terrific 2.6 assist/TO ratio, 1.51 PPP on catch and shoot but also .9 off dribble, 1.42 PPP on pick and roll feeds. He tested with 35 inch vertical and impressive shuttle times; he is an underrated athlete who has proven he has the work ethic to improve and should do so defensively. He is like Jimmer because he is an underrated athlete, does not shy away from the big shot (see his sick stepback 3 against Wisconsin in final minute) but unlike Jimmer he is 6'6'' and can dunk in traffic, create off the dribble, and makes good decisions off the pick n roll and corner action handoff. His BBIQ is just immensely higher and he is not undersized.
We all know that Vivek and Malone have a Golden State of Mind from their experience there, so if their blueprint was the "Splash Brothers," then part of our hope is that Ben Mac and the new White Chocolate form something special to pair with DeMarcus and Rudy. Vivek has called Stauskas, "Klay Curry" which may be a bit high in expectations for a rookie who has yet to play an NBA minute but the release and his size do seem to be favorable. I still would love to see the shooting competition between Steph and Nik that Steph proposed after watching Nik's "Tube" vids but the NCAA nixed. In the meantime, we need a better nickname than, I'm sorry, the McRooks.
Maybe something reference their wet strokes but involving the American River: River Splashers.
A Sweet Stroke reference: The Candymen. Spacers? Distance: DroneBombers? Riflemen? Someone must be able to do better.