The Sacramento Kings drafted Nik Stauskas for his shooting, ball handling and basketball IQ. But to have long-term impact in the NBA, the 21-year-old knows he has to bulk up to handle the rigor of the league and what teams are already doing after scouting him - overpowering him in the post.
We saw plenty of it in the preseason, but in Wednesday's loss to the Golden State Warriors, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes put Stauskas to the real test, and it worked.
"They tried to post me up and both of them are just stronger than me so it's tough for me to kind of hold my ground," Stauskas told reporters. "Guys feel like they can post me up every single time down the floor."
Thompson and Barnes made their way through Stauskas and illustrated the matchup problems the rookie is going to face this season despite his shooting potential.
"When you get to this level it's a whole different ballgame with the strength and physicality of these guys," Stauskas said.
Nearly every time head coach Michael Malone is asked about his new shooting guard he circles back to the fact that Stauskas has to get stronger and the Michigan standout has taken it to heart by working on it as much as he can.
"Just following anything that the strength coaches have for me...Every time that we could possibly get a weight session in or a lift in, I'm there and I'm trying to get stronger," said the 6'6'' Stauskas.
He said he currently weighs 205 pounds, which is similar to what he weighed at the NBA Draft Combine earlier this year. He has plenty of time to bulk up and work on his defense considering he just played his first 26 minutes of regular season NBA basketball on Wednesday night, scoring nine points on 3-10 shooting. Stauskas only shot one free throw in the game. Getting to the line could be a key to his success in the future and adding muscle could also will help with that.
Stauskas said Thompson, who is someone he tries to model his game after, had some words of encouragement for him after the game.
"Klay came up to me and he told me I have a bright future in this league so that meant a lot to hear that from him because I really do look up to the guy," Stauskas said.
Thompson worked hard to put on weight as he was entering the NBA as well. In 2010, Thompson weighed 190 pounds and a year later at the NBA Draft Combine he weighed in at 206 pounds. He is currently listed at 215 pounds.
Stauskas should see a decent amount of minutes this season as he is currently the only true backup to Ben McLemore. McLemore did not score in 26 minutes of work on Wednesday, but played decent defense. Malone recently said just because McLemore is starting now doesn't mean Stauskas couldn't supplant him.