Former Heat Hardship Signee Goes Full-On Supernova

Nik Stauskas

Getty Nik Stauskas, then of the Philadelphia 76ers, looks on during a 2016 game against the Toronto Raptors.

As much or more so than any other team in the NBA, the Miami Heat have been a textbook example of the “next man up” mentality. While Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry missed games for a variety of reasons and a Covid outbreak ransacked the roster, the other guys kept the team on top in the East.

It wasn’t just the likes of Tyler Herro, Max Strus, Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent that held down the fort, either. Miami also benefited from the presence of a number of hardship signees and 10-day guys.

One of them, former lottery pick Nik Stauskas, only appeared in two games for the Heat. However, he still played a role in the team’s New Year’s Eve win over the Rockets. And his presence allowed the team to continue playing and winning games as the outbreak ran its course.

While he didn’t get much of a chance to strut his stuff with the South Beach crew, Stauskas is making up for lost time in the G League in a major way.


Stauskas Makes History in the G League


Nik Stauskas scores 57 PTS with 11 3PM | NBA G League HighlightsNik Stausakas makes 11-15 3PT FG and finishes with 57 PTS for the Grand Rapids Gold in their win against the Wisconsin Herd. ☑️ Subscribe to ESPN+: plus.espn.com/ 📱Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn 🏀 Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/2yxs3Og ☑️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ☑️Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: es.pn/YouTubeTV2022-03-02T03:04:18Z

Playing for the Nuggets’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, Stauskas has displayed the same shooting touch and scoring instincts that made him a top 10 pick way back in 2014. On Tuesday, though, the 28-year-old took things to a whole other level.

Along the way, he looked like Wade, Hardaway and Rice, all rolled into one.

In 31 minutes of play against the Wisconsin Herd, Stauskas dropped a club record 57 points on 20-of-29 shooting (and 11-of-15 from deep) to lead the Gold to a 131-127 win.

The 57-point bomb was also the sixth-highest single-game point total in league history. Meanwhile, Stauskas’ 38-point first half set a new G League record and he also became just the second player in league history to score 24-plus points on 100% shooting in a single quarter.

He made 12 straight shots before logging his first miss in the game.

Stauskas has actually been balling out for a hot minute now, however, he had been overshadowed by teammate Isaiah Thomas logging multiple 40-plus point efforts. Now, though, IT is on his way back to the NBA, via Charlotte, and the former All-Star was just as taken aback as the rest of us by the outburst.

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Udonis Haslem Honored

In celebration of Black History Month, the NHL’s Florida Panthers enacted the “28 Days of Black Excellence” program, which spotlighted a new South Florida resident each day for making a difference in the local community.

On the last day of the month, the team honored Heat favorite and 19-year veteran Udonis Haslem for all the work he has done through his foundation.

Via the Panthers’ official site:

As captain of the Miami Heat, Udonis’s story is one of personal inspiration and dedication of the highest level. Since 2005, the Udonis Haslem Foundation’s mission is to promote youth development and self-confidence through programs and services designed to enable them to reach their full personal and educational potential. UD’s motto: “Believe in yourself, stand strong on your faith, and keep God first.”

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