LAS VEGAS - As strange as it may sound, Nik Stauskas may find more NBA stability in Philadelphia than he had in Sacramento. That's right, the franchise that has won a total of 37 games the past two seasons combined is probably a settling place for the Michigan product.

The 6-6 shooting guard is in Las Vegas with his new team, though not able to play for two reasons. The trade that brought him to the Sixers along with Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and other bits and pieces wasn't finalized until last weekend, so practice time was limited. Also, he rolled his ankle a few weeks ago and probably isn't ready to go full tilt right now.

Though the losses have been the dominant story here the past two seasons, Stauskas did leave a team that had three head coaches during his rookie year last season and seems to still be in flux. He is joining a coach now who thought - perhaps hoped - that Stauskas would have been here last year. Brett Brown has said many times that he was targeting Stauskas with the 10th pick in last season's draft.

"It's great that he likes my game and that he has confidence in me," said Stauskas, selected by the Kings with the eighth pick. "I can prove him right and come in this year and produce the way he wants me to."

The Ontario, Canada native struggled in his initial NBA season, averaging just 4.4 points. He did come on the last quarter of the season, hitting 42 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

"Shooting is my bread and butter, but in college I feel like the majority of my work was done in the pick-and-roll with the ball in my hands and just be free to operate and do what I want," Stauskas said. "Obviously, playing in the NBA is a different level and it's going to take adjustments to have that same efficiency and effectiveness in pick-and-rolls and I definitely think that I'm that type of player that can play off the dribble and not only score for myself but get other guys involved as well.

"There were numerous times last year that I would go on the floor and I was just targeted right away and the teams would attack me. The adjustment of physicality and defense is an adjustment period and I'm just getting better every day on it."

He has been a spectator here in Sin City, watching who he will be playing with, dissecting how he may fit in. His eyes, like most everyone else watching the team, have been set on 6-11 rookie Jahlil Okafor.

"Man, he's talented; he's really, really talented," said Stauskas, dreaming of kickouts for open threes. "I was saying to some of the guys on the bench that what he does you really can't teach. There are big men that either have it or they don't, and he has it - the footwork, the feel for the game, everything. I'm definitely excited to go out there and play with him."

Game stuff

The Sixers dropped to 0-3 in Vegas after falling to the New York Knicks, 84-81, in overtime.

Many fans at the Thomas and Mack Center were looking forward to the matchup of Sixers center Jahlil Okafor and New York's Kristaps Porzingis, the player taken right after Okafor at No. 4 in last month's draft.

Instead, it turned into the Maurice Ndour and Scottie Wilbekin show. Ndour led the Knicks with 23 points and six rebounds, while Wilbekin drained six of eight three pointers - barely missing a game-tying one at the end of overtime - to lead the Sixers with 26 points. Okafor added 18 points and six rebounds while Porzingis contributed nine points in 22 minutes while collecting seven fouls.

"Every team needs shooting," Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce said of Wilbekin, noting the 6-2 guard is 13-for-22 from beyond the arc in his last three games. "That's been a great surprise, how well he's been shooting the ball. With each game, confidence builds and I think his confidence is supreme right now. He's showing us a lot and even more importantly he's been a good defender. He's done a great job on both sides of the floor."

A 6-2, 180 pounder out of Florida, Wilbekin struggled shooting from long range in last season's summer league with the Sixers. He's certainly found his stroke this week.

"If I got some space I feel really confident with my shot," said Wilbekin, who has averaged 18 a game in his three contests in Vegas. "I'm going to let it go and it's been going in."

Six shots

JaKarr Sampson played just over 15 minutes after suffering from back spasms . . . Teams were seeded late last night and a double-elimination tournament will begin today with the Sixers playing the Nets at 4:30 p.m. . . . Former Sixer Moses Malone was in attendance for the game yesterday . . . Sixers who aren't playing but are in attendance include Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Canaan, Robert Covington and Nik Stauskas.

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