Have the OKC Thunder issued a draft promise to Caleb Houstan?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are preparing for the 2022 NBA Draft which sits 26 days away, with the NBA combine coming and going, now the work and rumors take a new step. From now until the draft, the Thunder facility will see plenty of prospects cycle through its doors having private workouts with OKC brass, coaching staff, and interviews with the team. Given Sam Presti’s history and their historic pile of draft picks, it is easy for rumors to swirl around Bricktown.

The NBA Draft has a ton of weird quirks, and if this is your first offseason truly following it day in and day out, let’s review some of the weird scenarios. For starters, get ready for a lot of smokescreens, as we have already seen rumors of trading down from the 2nd overall pick for the OKC Thunder.

Another is the NBA combine, where the top players in the draft do not even participate in many events. it is natural to see projected lottery picks pull out of the combine after being measured. However, when a player projected to go low first round or second round pulls out prior to the scrimmage sessions of the combine, it is believed that the player earned a draft promise. A team telling them they will spend their pick on him if he is still there when they are on the clock.

Given Sam Presti’s history of draft promises rumored that he issued a promise to Mitch McGary, Frank Jackson, and Mattise Thybulle just to name a few. Thybulle was snagged one pick before the Thunder in the 2019 NBA Draft we never got the chance to see if that rumor was true. Though, it appears the rumor of a Jackson promise was false as he slipped past the Thunder’s 21st overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft all the way to the second round. The Duke product was later brought in and participated in training camp with OKC in 2020 before catching on with the Pistons.

It is clear these promises do not mean much, although players hope it gives them an idea of their draft range, as the previous examples suggest tons of things can happen. Your player could be off the board before you pick, or the reports could simply be false. So with that in mind, let’s get into the latest rumor surrounding the OKC Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder are rumored to offer Caleb Houstan an NBA Draft promise with the 30th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft

John Hollinger writes in a column on the Athletic that there is speculation Oklahoma City has promised away their 30th overall pick to Michigan forward Caleb Houstan in return, Houstan shut down his predraft process at the NBA combine. Hollinger made it clear it was more speculation saying “Suspicion immediately went to the Thunder” when Caleb Houstan pulled out of the combine.

While this has happened before with the aforementioned Mitch McGary who the Thunder selected with the 21st pick in 2014. McGary, also from Michigan, only lasted two season’s in the NBA due to problems off the floor.

The Thunder have also made promises to Josh Huestis who was selected in 2014 with the 29th overall pick and turned down his rookie-scale contract in favor of playing on a D-League deal (now known as the G-League) giving OKC a chance to develop the Stanford product while he did not take up a standard NBA contract slot.

Huestis did not make his NBA debut until 2015 and only played in 76 career NBA games. It is unclear if the NBAPA would approve of this type of move again, especially heading into the last year of a CBA agreement.

Though, Caleb Houstan enters the same situation. You will be hard-pressed to find an NBA Draft board that has the Michigan product in the first round, and the 19-year-old Canadian lacks an NBA trait that could keep him on the floor even for a losing club next year. He only shot 35-percent from three, 38-percent from the floor, and ranked in the 18th percentile as a defender allowing nearly a point per possession for his opponent. Simply put, he does nothing well and does not warrant a first-round selection.