Indiana Pacers rookie Cassius Stanley is off to a great start with fans.
There was not much risk involved when the Indiana Pacers made their only selection of the 2020 NBA Draft. Coming near the very end of the draft, Indiana’s draft pick was spent on Duke guard Cassius Stanley, a player with a ton of upside and elite athleticism. Fans should be very excited about his potential development on the court.
Off the court, however, Cassius Stanley already appears to be a fan-favorite. He has interacted with the Pacers on Twitter and made it known that he is more than happy to wear the blue and gold for his foreseeable future. He also wrote a piece in The Players’ Tribune in which he addressed Pacers fans for the first time. Here are a few things that stick out from Stanley’s writing.
He just wants to win
The big quote that stands out is Stanley’s recollection of the final play in his high school state semi-final game. He does not care about his stats, he just cares about helping his team however he can.
“I’m always ready to take the big shot. But my top priority? It’s to make the winning play.”
The Pacers have to be ecstatic to hear that from a player so young and with such little experience on the big stage. He played just one season at Duke and was a second-round pick but Cassius Stanley is showing signs of maturity and leadership that few players have at this point in their career.
Stanley is a remarkable athlete
The numbers from the NBA Combine, and reports of his vertical leap at Duke, do not tell the full story of Cassius Stanley. He is an absurdly gifted athlete who can jump out of the gym at any given moment. According to Stanley, he was dunking on a regulation hoop before he even got to seventh grade.
Watching his highlights from high school and in college, Stanley is almost always the best overall athlete on the floor. Indiana is a team that lacks excitement and explosion for the most part, but Stanley appears to be in line to change that moving forward.
Obviously, there is more to basketball than dunking and elite athleticism, but having someone who can rally the crowd and bring the stadium to life is a nice starting point.
Athleticism helps him win
Speaking of his incredible leaping ability, Stanley says that it is not just a matter of him being an athlete. Instead, he suggests that it is what helps him compete at the highest level.
“…I don’t jump to jump. I jump to win basketball games.”
He understands that his numbers hold no merit by themselves. But he also recognizes that his ability to out-jump everybody on the court puts him in a position to help his team win, whether it be by grabbing rebounds at the guard position or attacking the rim to get a big bucket.
Lastly, fans should simply be happy that Stanley took the time to address them almost immediately after his selection. He seems happy to get a chance at the next level and is ready to make the most of his opportunity. The Pacers may have found a gem.
You can find the full article here if you would like to read Stanley’s full message to Indiana.