Nik Stauskas: 'It's not an NBA championship but it's a great first experience for me.' (Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)
Nik Stauskas’ NBA career has started even better than his two-year stint at Michigan did — with a championship.
It’s not the Holy Grail that Stauskas is seeking, but for him, a title is a title. Stauskas helped the Sacramento Kings win the Las Vegas Summer League title with a 77-68 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
Stauskas had 10 points and four rebounds and the University of Detroit’s Ray McCallum was named the championship game MVP with 29 points and nine rebounds.
“It’s a great way to start off my NBA career, winning the summer league,” Stauskas said on Kings.com. “It’s not an NBA championship but it’s a great first experience for me.”
In seven tournament games, Stauskas averaged 9.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists. The Kings selected Stauskas, a 6-foot-6 guard, eighth overall in last month’s draft and already are reaping the benefits, as he hit 48 percent (11-of-23) on 3-pointers.
McCallum elevated his game in the championship, going 9-for-15 from the field, including 3-of-7 on 3-pointers and scored his 29 points in 30 minutes.
“Ray had a great game. In the second half, he started to feel it in that third quarter,” Stauskas said. “He and Ben (McLemore) are two special players; hopefully we can keep that going in the future.”
McCallum, whom the Kings drafted in the second round in 2013, looked more poised in the summer league this season, leading the team to a 6-1 record overall. McCallum, a standout at Detroit Country Day before playing for his father at UDM, averaged 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.1 rebounds in the tournament.
“This is huge for us. It’s been about eight years since Sacramento has had some success in winning,” McCallum said. “I know it’s just summer league but this is a big step for us. We have a lot of young talent on this team and this is something to build on going into training camp.”
McCallum started 10 games and averaged 6.2 points and 2.7 assists as a rookie last season.