Josh Huestis NBA Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Thunder Rookie

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Josh Huestis NBA Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Thunder Rookie
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

School: Stanford
Height/Weight: 6'7", 213 lbs
Age: 22 years old
Projected NBA Position: Small Forward
Pro Comparison: Thabo Sefolosha
Twitter Handle: @jhuestis

He wasn't a star in college, nor was he a high-profile NBA draft prospect, but Stanford's Josh Huestis boosted his stock in recent months.

The 6'7" forward finished the regular season strong and had a solid Pac-12 tournament, and then he put together some nice predraft workouts. As a result, he has a legitimate chance to break into the Association.

His game isn't built on dynamic scoring or polished skills, but he makes an impact with hustle, length and athleticism. Plus, he possesses a promising outside jumper.

Huestis' squad hopes he can provide those attributes during his short bursts on the court.

Let's take an in-depth look at Huestis' outlook moving forward.

Statistics at Stanford
Year PTS REB BLK FG% 3P%
2010-11 2.3 2.0 0.3 .436 .200
2011-12 5.3 4.8 1.2 .437 .279
2012-13 10.5 9.0 2.1 .460 .338
2013-14 11.2 8.2 1.9 .451 .338

NCAA.com

 

PHYSICAL TOOLS

Huestis measured at 6'6.5" in socks at the Portsmouth Invitational this spring, which means he's somewhere between 6'7" and 6'8" in shoes. That size is solid for a small forward, but what really makes him physically imposing is his 7'1" wingspan and 8'10.5" standing reach.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Athletically, he has more than enough springs to compete in the NBA, as he hops quickly off one or two feet. He bounced for a 38.5-inch vertical at his workout with the Los Angeles Clippers, per DraftExpress. His leaping allows him to easily flush dunks and finish plays in college, but it also helped him block 190 shots over his four years in Palo Alto.

And while he's not ultra-quick with the ball, he's got plenty of foot speed to guard playmaking wings. His agility and length may allow him to guard anyone from shooting guards to power forwards.

 

CORE STRENGTHS

Defensive Versatility

If nothing else, Huestis will supply high-level defense for his club.

With his aforementioned wingspan and ample juice in his step, he'll mirror his opponents and elevate to alter their shot attempts. He'll also stay active on the boards and rebound well for his position.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com tabbed defense as Huestis' top asset as he joins the pro ranks:

The best thing that Huestis brings to the table, and the key attribute that makes him a NBA prospect, is his defense. His size, length and athleticism gives him the ability to guard multiple positions at the college level and beyond, and he shows terrific smarts and intensity locking down opponents. Even though he's a bit upright in his stance at times, Huestis' strong base helps him keep quicker opponents in front of him, while his length and activity level makes him very effective at contesting shots.

Remember the Stanford club that stunned Kansas in the NCAA tourney? Huestis was key in limiting both Perry Ellis and Andrew Wiggins to single digits in the Cardinal's 60-57 win.

He would be a superb defensive weapon to bring off the bench in the NBA, as he gives his coach a ton of flexibility to effectively blanket different positions.

 

Offense: Athleticism and Shooting

Huestis won't be handling the ball much or playing in isolation on offense, but he has enough tools to be a useful component.

For starters, his instincts, awareness and leaping ability will make him an above-the-rim player off cuts, lobs and weak-side putbacks. When he anticipates a play, it's usually too late for opponents to recover and challenge him.

In addition, he has a promising jump shot that looks comfortable but not spectacular. He shot 34 percent from three-point land in each of his last two seasons at Stanford, and according to DraftExpress.com's Mike Schmitz, he shot the ball well during the L.A. Clippers' mini-combine: "Huestis shot it with confidence all day and seems to be improving in that area."

Consistent outside shooting would dramatically solidify his chances of holding a spot in the league.

 

Intangibles

It's worth remembering that Huestis is a smart player and a hard worker, one who will do all the little things throughout games and practices to help make the team better.

"I'm a dirty work guy, I like to do all the little things, defense, rebounding. I'm going to come in, be a glue guy, and just help the team win," Huestis told reporters in a predraft media session.

He's a well-spoken young man, and he understands what it takes to transition from a power forward playing style to a small forward role. "The three is definitely my natural position at the next level," he said.

Huestis will make the right plays on offense, limit his mistakes and play alert in all other phases.

 

WEAKNESSES/CONCERNS

The top area that will limit Huestis' playing time and productivity is his shot-creating ability. It's tough for a coach to justify keeping a non-skilled small forward on the floor for lengthy periods of time.

Before the draft, Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained that Huestis will need to work on his ball-handling skills in order to make the most of his pro career.

"The challenge is usually developing ball skills, and that's where Josh will have to keep improving." McDonough told reporters. "You know, working on his handle, making plays away from the basket."

While he works on that, he should also keep polishing his outside jumper. He can't afford to have some of the slumps he endured in college. It's a "make it or sit" league.

USA TODAY Sports

 

NBA PROJECTION

Immediate Projection

Huestis may have to work and scrap just to maintain a roster spot early in his rookie year. And even if he does make the team, his minutes would be mostly in an energy and defensive role.

Ultimately, his defense and improved shooting should win the coaching staff over and give him a chance to be a surprising second-tier newcomer.

 

Long-Term Projection

If the early endeavors go well, there's no reason to think he can't remain a part of the rotation for years, albeit in the back end of the rotation.

Schmitz suggests that Huestis' entire package, including the intangibles, will make him a long-term factor:

It wouldn't be fair to project his career stats, especially when most of his game is predicated on incalculable defensive work and hustle plays. Just take comfort in that he possesses the chops to influence the game on both ends.

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