After being selected 29th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft and subsequently spending a year in the NBA D-League, former Stanford forward Josh Huestis has signed a four-year, rookie-scale contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Stanford basketball fans remember Huestis as one of the stars on the Sweet Sixteen team of 2013-14, along with fellow NBA player Dwight Powell. Huestis was one of the strongest defenders in the Pac-12, earning Pac-12 Defensive Team honors twice and leaving Stanford as the all-time leading shot blocker in school history.
Huestis made headlines last year for being the NBA’s first occurrence of a domestic “draft-and-stash” player. He was drafted by the Thunder with the intention to not actually sign him to a rookie contract, but instead to have him.spend a year developing as a member of the team’s D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers. It was a money-saving move for the Thunder that also allowed them to save an extra roster spot that they otherwise would have had to open up for their first-round pick.
At first, the move drew plenty of backlash from the NBA community, as it was viewed as a somewhat slimy tactic by the likes of Oklahoma City’s front office. Many were surprised when the NBA players’ union said that they supported the signing as an example of a player leveraging his position to become a first-round pick.
Evidently, despite the controversy, the move worked out for the former Cardinal standout. Huestis now has a four-year contract (with the first two years guaranteed) at a pay scale marginally higher than the one he would have received had he signed last year ($950,200 vs. $918,000). He joins a Thunder lineup with a surplus of big men and a first-year head coach looking to shake things up, Billy Donovan.
Huestis’ D-League numbers were modest: 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game with a 37.2 percent clip from the field. His defense has always been one of his strong suits, but his keys to some playing time for the Thunder will be further developing his shot and finding his place in an NBA lineup.
Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’ stanford.edu.