Every year, the second round is full of project picks, but you’ll also find players who come ready to hit the ground running. Stanford’s Josh Huestis is out to show teams that after four years of facing tough competition, he has the experience necessary to make an immediate impact. Tough defense is the 22-year-old’s calling card but his mission is to show teams that he can be a factor on the other end of the floor as well.
“I’m definitely somebody who can be aggressive on the boards. I see offensive rebounding as my strong suit. I averaged 2.5 offensive rebounds per game in college,” Huestis told Hoops Rumors, referring to his numbers in his senior year. “I can shoot the ball better than people think, too, and with more opportunities, I can do more than people think. I’m working on ball handling and by the time the season rolls around I’ll be more comfortable attacking the basket.”
The 6’7″ forward believes that because he was asked to be a defensive anchor for the Cardinal throughout his time there, he didn’t get many chances to show what he can do with the basketball. Some scouting reports, including a recent writeup from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, have knocked Huestis’ shooting range, but he’s determined to shed that rap over the next few months. An improved shooting stroke will help inflate his stock for sure, but his value will continue to lie primarily in his defense.
“I feel like I can guard whoever anybody wants me to,” said Huestis, who has great size for the small forward position and could conceivably play the four in a smaller lineup. “I can be somebody who can guard twos and threes and fours. I think I’m a really versatile defender.”
Huestis is coming off a performance at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament where he feels that he displayed his trademark D but didn’t do as much as he wanted to offensively. Even though things didn’t go perfectly, a number of teams reached out to Huestis and showed active interest over the course of the week. Since then, he’s been refining all parts of his game at the Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas and going up against stiff competition. Every day, Huestis works out with and against training partners like Pittsburgh product Lamar Patterson and former All-American Mike Moser.
Draft sites are quick to offer up NBA comparisons for prospects, and when asked to come up with his own, Huestis said that his game most closely resembles that of Kawhi Leonard. Like the Spurs swingman, the Stanford standout can guard multiple positions on the floor, be a “really good glue guy,” and grab the tough rebounds. While using a second-round choice on a draft-and-stash candidate may be enticing, it’ll be hard for teams to take a pass on a player like Huestis who can help fortify a bench immediately.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.