Perry has made no secret that he is looking for athletic, young, versatile wings that can guard multiple positions. Look no further than Oklahoma City guard Josh Huestis.
The Thunder declined his team option for the 2018-19 season, making the 6-foot-7 guard an unrestricted free-agent.
Drafted late in the second round in 2014, Huestis was tabbed as the first domestic “draft and stash” player, who agreed to play his entire rookie year in the G-league.
Huestis told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman:
“I think it was the best decision that I could make in terms of my own career. I think having an opportunity to play in the D-League for a year has really taught me a lot and has prepared me to move forward in my career. And I think if I had to make the decision again I would make the exact same one.”
Going into the 2017-18 season, Huestis had played only a whopping seven NBA games in two seasons.
Huestis played 69 games this past season. Per NBAstats.com, the fourth-year man out of Stanford finished the season third on the team in defensive rating (102.6), out of players that played at least 30 games.
Even head coach Billy Donovan had praise for Huestis, despite some inconsistencies with his play in the rotation, per Erik Horne of the Oklahoman.
“He’s a really good defender when he’s in (one-on-one) situations because of his length, his size, he’s got good feet, but areas where he can get better where he’s in a pick-and-roll and having to defend the ball handler … that’s a little bit new to him and he’s having to deal with that a little bit more.
Overall, Huestis has the potential to add serious defensive talent to a backcourt that may also include Frank Ntilikina. Huestis will have to improve his shooting, but his youth, work ethic, and physical talents present an opportunity that the Knicks may not be able to pass up.
The Knicks have a lot of work to do between now and the start of next season. Fans are hoping the team of team president Steve Mills and Perry will keep their promise not to skip steps and build the team at a gradual pace, rather than settling for shortcuts.
Players like Looney, Curry, and Huestis will not stand out on the stat sheet, yet they may offer some productive free-agent options at an affordable price. The Knicks will most likely struggle for wins next season and must keep youth, player development, and cap flexibility at the forefront of all their decisions from here on out.