The OKC Thunder have missed Andre Roberson’s lockdown defense and have been trying to find a player to fill that role. Josh Huestis could be the answer.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have consistently had a lockdown defender at shooting guard. Thabo Sefolosha was the man for six years from 2008-14. Then Andre Roberson took the reins for the OKC Thunder from 2013 to now. That is, until he injured his knee in Detroit.
Roberson has been out with a ruptured patella tendon since Jan. 27 and OKC has been trying to replace what the defensive specialist gave them.
There were rumors of a trade for Avery Bradley during the trade deadline, even after Bradley was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers by the Detroit Pistons. OKC was said to be looking at Tony Allen too. Allen is going to have his jersey retired by the Memphis Grizzlies when he retires.
One of the benefits of signing Tony Allen is the fact that he has some offensive capability along with his defensive effort. He averaged 9.1 points a game last year at 35 years old in Memphis, which was also his last year with the team.
That is more than Roberson or Sefolosha have ever averaged in any season as a starter for the Thunder.
Allen has made the All-Defensive First Team three times (2012, 2013, 2015) and the All-Defensive Second Team three times (2011, 2016, 2017).
Allen would bring veteran leadership to the team and that position. Roberson was only in his fifth year and is a relatively young player. Adding a defensive leader to the team would even strengthen one of the top-ranked defenses in the league in terms of defensive rating. The Thunder are ranked seventh in that category.
If the Thunder are looking for an in-house option, Josh Huestis would be the man. Huestis has the height that Roberson did along with the long arms. He has a 7’1″ wingspan and an 8’10.5″ standing reach.
Huestis may not be known as a defensive specialist that Roberson was, but he can recreate some of the things Roberson did with his intangibles, which means doing the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet but exemplify good defense, like diving for loose balls and using his long arms to deflect passes.
DraftExpress explains how Huestis can be the Thunder’s next shutdown defender:
“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.”
“Scouts are wondering if he can play a role similar to the one Thabo Sefolosha has in Oklahoma City the last few years, locking up multiple positions, making open jumpers, and helping the team’s ball-movement.”
That was back in 2014 when Huestis was drafted in the first round, 29th overall. Roberson has taken that role as he was drafted a year before Huestis, but the Thunder could groom Huestis to be the next man up.
Huestis had the chance to start for the Golden State game and he helped lock down one of the best shooters in the game in Klay Thompson. Thompson scored 12 points and shot 5-for-13 (38.5 percent) and 2-for-6 from the 3-point line.
The Thunder ended up winning the game, 125-105.
Abrines has not scored in the last two games he has started and Ferguson is averaging 2.7 points per game this season.
If the Thunder are going to get the best out of the shooting guard position it will have to come defensively. Josh Huestis looks like the man for that role.