Sixers head coach Brett Brown has said all along the key to Nik Stauskas’ success is his confidence.
Stauskas is feeling it, and it’s showing on the court.
On Saturday, Stauskas scored a season-high 21 points off the bench in the Sixers' 120-105 win over the Suns. He went a perfect 3 for 3 from long range in the first half (11 points in as many minutes) and finished the game going 8 for 9 from the field and 5 for 6 from three.
He even threw down an alley-oop from point guard Sergio Rodriguez.
“There’s a cocky bounce that we love,” Brown said. “He looks like he’s having fun.”
Stauskas has scored in double-digits in the past six games. He is shooting 43.0 percent from the field, 66.7 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 16.3 points over his last three contests. Saturday was his first 20-point outing of the season and his second of his career.
“Any time my jumpshot feels great, my confidence starts to grow,” Stauskas said. “Even attacking the basket, too, I felt comfortable out there.”
Brown had moved Stauskas in and out of the starting lineup last season. Now, he has settled into a backup role with Gerald Henderson in the starting five. Brown believes Stauskas’ production boosts the second unit. He is averaging 10.2 points on the season.
“I like him coming off the bench and scoring,” Brown said. “All the good teams you look at have somebody that can come off a bench and get numbers. He is acting like that for us now and really having an outstanding season so far.”
Stauskas attributes improvements in his play to studying film, which he rewatches on his iPad after every game. He also has been working on his conditioning to be able to move better without the ball.
“We're seeing a skill package that everybody talked about when he came out of college,” Brown said. “You're seeing a lottery pick play. I'm personally happy for him because he cares sometimes too much and he's so self-conscious at times and extremely prideful and he's being rewarded for the work he has put in.”