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June 10, 2014

Nik Stauskas remains a lottery pick in updated mock drafts

With a little more than two weeks remaining until the June 26 NBA Draft, Nik Stauskas remains a favorite to go in the top 12-15 picks according to the most recent release of mock drafts from reputable media sites.

In the most up-to-date mock, from earlier today, ESPN.com's Chad Ford sees the Minnesota Timberwolves snatching up Stauskas with the No. 13 pick.

"The Wolves always are looking for shooters, and if Stauskas is on the board here, I'm not sure Minnesota can pass him up," Ford writes. "But it's possible. He sprained his shoulder a week ago and had to cancel workouts last week. He won't have his first workout until Tuesday in Boston, followed by the Lakers later in the week.

"I think this is really his floor. If the Lakers and Celtics pass (he's in the mix there, but I don't think he's likely to go either team), Charlotte, Philly, Denver and Orlando are all possible landing spots, too. If Stauskas is gone, James Young and Adreian Payne are two other players who will get long looks here."

You can find mock drafts from seven Web sites here, including the updated versions for DraftExpress.com, NBADraft.net, SI.com, CBSSports.com and FoxSports.com that were all revamped within the last week.

With the Timberwolves a potential landing spot for Stauskas, Minnesota's NBA.com affiliate took a look at the former Wolverine this week in a draft profile.

"Stauskas, a sophomore who hails from Ontario, was the 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year and a 2014 All-Big Ten first team selection. He worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman and really never looked back. His 3-point shooting set him apart, and that will likely be his biggest attribute as he heads into the NBA. It's also why he is considered to be a lottery pick on June 26," the site wrote.

"He said he watches a lot of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson -Golden State's starting back court duo - and he tries to model his game after theirs.

"But he understands he needs to keep improving, which is what he's trying to do during his Draft workouts this spring/summer. He said he feels like he's someone who can make an impact on a team right away and, perhaps, surprise some people about what he can accomplish on the court."

Meanwhile, over at BTN.com, the Big Ten has posted a video with Stauskas talking about his career at Michigan and why he's moving on to the NBA. In it, Stauskas recounts the game-winning shot Kentucky freshman Aaron Harrison hit in U-M's 75-72 Elite Eight loss to the Wildcats.

"Shot was on the wing, I was in the right corner, I remember that Caris was up top," he recalls. "It was great defense. I was crying in the locker room because I just felt that we as a team had been through so much with everyone doubting us after Mitch went down. We had that great run during the Big Ten season and it was a tough way to end the year."

It didn't take long for Stauskas to refocus, however, noting he began to weigh his NBA Draft prospects quickly after the loss.

"Immediately I thought about my future and whether that would be my last game in a Michigan uniform," he says on the video. "We started the process the next week. My parents set up a few meetings with agents, and after those meetings I got a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do.

"Coach Beilein told me they'd love to have me back and would welcome me back with open arms, but he said, 'We feel like you're ready' and I knew I was ready. So they supported me with my decision to leave.

"It was tough to leave Michigan after the two years I had there. At the same time, this has been a dream of mine for so long to play in the NBA.

"I've put in a lot of work and I feel like I belong in this league now."









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