NEW YORK, NY (Detroit Free Press) -- When NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Nik Stauskas' name tonight at the Barclays Center, the former Wolverine lived up to his promises.
The first hug went to his mother Ruta, who he guaranteed nearly a decade ago would get this initial moment.
The second went to his father Paul, making the three hand slaps and the three goggles over the eyes that became his trademark at Michigan, reflecting his confidence on and off the floor.
So it was no surprise to any of them when Stauskas was selected No. 8 overall to the Sacramento Kings.
He is the highest U-M draft pick since Jamal Crawford went No. 8 in 2000,Michigan's second lottery pick in two years, following Trey Burke last year, who was drafted No. 9 by Minnesota before being traded to Utah.
Stauskas is Michigan's 23rd first round draft pick but, joining Burke, just the second since 2000.
"A lot of guys who come to Michigan, the guys who were under recruited, we play with a chip on out shoulder," he said on ESPN. "Me and Trey we felt we had something to prove and coach (John) Beilein and the assistant coaches they've all done a great job and they gave us a great system to play in and we really succeeded in it."
Sacramento is an interesting landing spot, especially considering they just drafted Ben McLemore last year at No. 7 overall. But McLemore scored only 8.8 points per game and only shot 32% from three-point range,
As a team, the Kings shot just 33% from three-point range, fourth-worst in the league and that just happens to be Stauskas' greatest weapon, hitting 44%.
"Nik Stauskas I think is the best shooter in this draft," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said. "But he's much more than a shooter. He's got complete offensive game and he's got a swagger to him. He's cocky, he's confident, he's totally unafraid. You have to be a little cocky to wear that suit, I'd say. He sets his feet, he has really deep range, but he's not just a catch and shoot guy. Myself included wondered what's he going to do without Trey Burke. Here's what he's going to do: put it on the deck, he can drive it and he can dunk on people. He can also pass."
Stauskas made the leap from a NBA non-factor after last season with one of the biggest one-year jumps in Michigan history.
He went being a complementary player as a freshman, the third or fourth option who primarily shot three-pointers, to the team's focal point as a sophomore when he became the Big Ten player of the year and an All-American.
Much of that leap came as he diversified his game to handle the ball and run the offense plus show more of an attacking game.
But his ability to shoot the three-pointer is what makes him an elite lottery pick, especially at nearly 6-foot-7, a skill that is coveted by all 30 teams.
"You're playing with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. you have to take a backseat somewhat," ESPN analyst and former Wolverine Jalen Rose said on the broadcast. "He improved his ballhandling, he got stronger, able to finish at the hoop, knock down three-point shooter and he's fearless. He's one of those guys who goes on the court and thinks, I'm the best player out there."