On March 4, Nik Stauskas inked a two-year contract with the Boston Celtics, pumping newfound life into his professional basketball career. However, mere days prior to landing in Beantown, the new C’s sharpshooter was contemplating walking away from the game entirely.
“Just five days ago, I was ready to give in, to be honest,” Stauskas admitted to reporters on March 8, via Boston.com. “Just playing in the G-League all year. I had told myself that if it didn’t work out this year, that I’d be OK with walking away from the game. It’s just crazy that in the last 72-96 hours that everything kind of transpired the way it did.”
Stauskas, who says he’s played for so many teams “he’s lost count,” now joins his seventh NBA squad since entering the league as the No. 8 overall selection in 2014. Aside from a 10-day contract with the Miami Heat earlier this year, Stauskas has spent the majority of the past three seasons bouncing around the G-League.
“It’s been a long time coming for me, personally, just to kind of get back to this point, kind of cracking a roster,” he said. “I’ve been out of the league for two years so, definitely very grateful for Brad Stevens giving me this opportunity.”
Stauskas Gets Accustomed to Boston
Stauskas, who in his final two games with the Grand Rapids Gold combined for 100 points while shooting 20-of-28 from three, will look to help bolster Boston’s 21st-ranked 3-point shooting offense (34.7%).
Yet, first and foremost the former Michigan standout is eager to entrench himself in the locker room and within the Celtics building. As Boston.com’s Tom Westerholm highlighted, aside from playing with Al Horford’s brother Jon in college, Stauskas has no previous connections to the C’s current roster.
“And now, I’m just trying to make the most of it here, trying to learn this system, trying to become friends with all these guys and the coaching staff and, so far, I’ve only been here for a couple of days, but have nothing but good experiences so far,” he added.
For the Love of the Game
Being a former top-10 pick and Big Ten Player of the Year, it’s been an admittedly difficult transition for Stauskas going from a key/featured player to a borderline NBA body. However, over the years, he’s grown far more gracious of the opportunity he’s been gifted and is willing to help the Celtics make a playoff push in any facet.
“If I’m not going to play, I’m going to be the first guy waving the towel, pumping everyone else up,” Satuskas said. “For me, that’s growth because that’s something that I wasn’t willing to do just a couple years ago in my first stint in the league,” he noted.
“At the end of the day, it’s been my love for the game that’s kept me going through the highs and the lows, through injuries and the doubts, not knowing what the next day brings,” Stauskas said. “So I’m definitely glad I stuck with it on those days just to kind of get back to this point. But I’ve got a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be personally, so I’m just trying to keep my head up and keep working the same way I have the past couple of years.”
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