LAS VEGAS -- The Kings completed their final minicamp practice leading up to todays summer league opener against San Antonio, and coach Michael Malone had some advice for rookie Nik Stauskas.
Go to your hotel room, get some rest and prepare for the game.
Stauskas informed his coach he was already ahead of the curve and hed planned out his evening.
Stauskas planned to overdose on reruns of the sitcom Friends.
If the shooting guard from Michigan is anxious at all about his summer league debut, hes great at masking it.
The Kings are happy to have several players from last years roster playing on the summer league squad to take the pressure off Stauskas, the eighth overall pick in last months NBA draft.
Stauskas is looking forward to summer league with the confidence the Kings described after drafting him.
At the end of the day, basketball is basketball, Stauskas said. And whether youre open from three in college or the NBA, a jump shot is a jump shot. I think Ive been doing a good job of taking my shots when theyre there and trying to be aggressive. Ive still got work to do, but I feel like things have been going well.
The message from the coaching staff, starting with the first practice, to Stauskas was to try not to think or do too much on the court and to make plays in the flow of the game.
I dont want him hesitating, Malone said. If hes open, I want him to shoot without any hesitation. Hes got a very high basketball IQ. He picks things up quickly, and I dont sense that hes rushing and out of control at all. I think he has a pretty good pace about him.
The Kings hope Stauskas high basketball IQ and shooting pay off in the regular season. The team has needed more players who could make the right decisions on the court, which sometimes means making the simple play, as Stauskas showed he could do in college.
That also includes knowing how to blend his game with teammates, such as second-year guard Ben McLemore.
Both are shooting guards who were first-round draft picks. McLemore was the Kings top choice in 2013.
The Kings believe Stauskas can play with McLemore and that will be a part of the plan in summer league.
For the most part, me and Ben have been on the court at the same time when weve been practicing and scrimmaging, Stauskas said. I feel like we have good chemistry so far. Weve been looking for each other, and hopefully we can continue that moving forward.
Malone agrees Stauskas and McLemore can complement each other.
What Ive seen is Ben and Nik can play together without any problems, Malone said. They both have a pretty good understanding of the game and they play well off of each other. When you have two guys who have the potential to shoot as well as they do, thats going to pose problems for other teams.
Malone was a fan of Stauskas confidence after the draft, and it hasnt taken long for the rookie to showcase that trait by settling in on the court.
Theres no nerves anymore. You have a better idea of what to expect, Stauskas said. My first day coming in here, you dont know what the guys are going to be like, you dont know what the tempo and intensity is going to be like. After having six, seven practices and a scrimmage (Wednesday) night, you just know what to expect moving forward.
Stauskas said having Kings players from last seasons roster has aided his transition. Its a benefit McLemore and Ray McCallum didnt have last summer entering their rookie season.
Center DeMarcus Cousins also has practiced with the summer league team as he prepares for Team USA workouts.
Theyve all been really good about everything, Stauskas said. Theyve all been real supportive, showing me the ropes and helping me out when I dont understand things.