The NBA Draft is about three months away, and both Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin are projected to be drafted by several outlets.
These projections are bound to change after the NCAA tournament, when prospects from mid-majors and schools that make runs shoot up draft boards. However, a few media outlets have published mock drafts before March Madness officially starts.
Let’s recap where NBA writers and draft analysts project Howard and Bufkin to be drafted, along with the fit of the team they are picked to go to.
Jonathan Givony, ESPN
Howard to Toronto Raptors at 15, Bufkin to Brooklyn Nets at 21
I love both these fits. Howard will not be asked to be a primary creator right away, playing with solid offensive players like Fred Van Vleet, Gary Trent Jr. and Pascal Siakam. It feels like the Raptors have the most 6-foot-8 guys in the league, but Howard will have to get better as a rebounder and as a defender to get minutes on that Toronto team.
Bufkin would be joining a Brooklyn Nets squad that has been re-made after multiple blockbuster trades, and they have some solid pieces in Mikal Bridges, Dorian Finney-Smith, Cam Johnson and Nic Claxton. Bufkin could come off the bench and defend guards, while driving to the hoop and dishing to one of Brooklyn’s solid shooters like Joe Harris or Seth Curry.
Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report
Howard to Utah Jazz at 15, Bufkin to Portland Trail Blazers at 22
Both of these teams are kind of in NBA purgatory; they are good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to do anything once they get there.
I think Howard would play well alongside Lauri Markkanen, giving the Jazz length all over the place. Utah is 18th in the league in three-point field goal percentage, and adding Howard would help them improve on that. Bufkin could come off the bench for Portland, and as we’ve seen with C.J. McCollum and now Anfernee Simons, playing next to Damian Lillard can bring the best out of shooting guards.
Howard to Houston Rockets at 20, Bufkin to Detroit Pistons at 31
Don’t love Howard going to the Rockets, but most mocks have him going to Houston with the pick they got from the Los Angeles Clippers. Houston needs everything, and when you watch that team, it’s a lot of young guys playing your-turn-my-turn iso ball. That said. Howard would provide them would shooting, and could grow as a playmaker leading Houston’s second unit.
This mock also has Kobe Bufkin staying in his home state and playing three hours from his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. I’m sure our friends at Detroit Bad Boys would love to cover him, and the Pistons could use another guard to play next to Killian Hayes in the second unit. Additionally, Big Ten fanatics would probably love seeing Bufkin and Jaden Ivey share the floor.
Bryan Kalbrosky, USA Today
Much like Houston, Charlotte is one of the worst teams in the league, and going to a team like the Hornets would give Howard more time with the ball. I don’t love the vibes around that team, but playing with LaMelo Ball to set him up for open threes could help Howard’s confidence.
Bufkin going to the Denver Nuggets would be a blessing for him. Not sure how much he would play with how many shooting guards that team has, but playing off of screens and passes from two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic would be amazing for Bufkin’s development.
Enzo Flojo, ClutchPoints
Howard to Houston Rockets at 20, Bufkin not drafted (first round only)
Again, Houston would not be a great fit for Howard immediately. There is a world where he works well as a shooter playing alongside Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Jabari Smith Jr., and Alperen Sengun.
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer
Howard to Houston Rockets at 17, Bufkin not drafted (first round only)
I love how The Ringer does “shades of” in their mock drafts, comparing college prospects to current and former players in the NBA, as O’Connor compared Howard to two players on the Memphis Grizzlies. Here’s what O’Connor said about Howard in the plusses portion of his scouting report:
- “Knockdown 3-point shooter with the potential to hit off movement. He’s also comfortable pulling up from midrange and loves using a floater.”
- “High-IQ wing who knows how to be a playmaker, not just a scorer. He thrives in NBA-style actions, a lot like Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks do for the Grizzlies. He’ll slingshot around screens or handoffs toward the middle of the floor, take a dribble to draw the defense, and then fire a pass to a big man rolling to the basket. It’s an action every pro offense runs, and he runs it to perfection because of his improvisational feel.”
- “He wants to be a good defender. Effort is never an issue; it’s just his positioning and awareness. But he hustles to recover to shooters, logs help blocks, and fights over screens. In overtime against Ohio, he made multiple clutch plays down the stretch to help Michigan get the win with on-ball stops and blocks.”
What do you think the ideal NBA fits are for Howard and Bufkin? Let us know in the comments.