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Draft Profile: What the Orlando Magic can expect from Jett Howard

Howard had some memorable moments in his only season at Michigan.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Second Round - Michigan vs Rutgers Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After one season at Michigan, Jett Howard is now in the NBA, getting drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 11th overall pick. He’s the 15th Wolverine to be drafted in the past 10 years, and the 7th player to be drafted since Juwan Howard took over as head coach.

Howard appeared in 29 games for the Wolverines, averaging 14.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 41.4% from the field, 36.8% on threes and 80.0% from the free-throw line. He scored 15 points or more 14 times, with his career-high 34-point night coming against Iowa in an overtime loss.

NBA analysts across the country projected Howard to be drafted towards the middle of the first round, but going this early is a bit of a surprise.

Let’s take a look at Howard as a draft prospect and discuss what he’s good at, what he needs to work on and what teams could be a good fit for him.


The appeal of Howard is obvious: there will always be a place in the NBA for 6-foot-8 players who can shoot three-pointers. But he is much more than shooter; he flashed his potential as a three-level scorer and shot creator this past season, and he fits the archetype most teams are looking for in young wings.

Howard has a quick release and a beautiful jumper. He’s a confident shooter, letting it fly when he has an opening on the wing. He’s a good set shooter and did a great job moving to the open spot to make the pass for his teammate easier. He also could make shots coming off screens, and showed off a little step-back that gives him plenty of space.

Howard is not the fastest, but he’s great coming downhill off a screen, using his length to step through the defense and finish at the rim.

I thought Howard was an underrated passer this past season as well. He has excellent court vision and as the year went along, he got a lot better finding his teammates for easy baskets when he couldn’t finish at the rim. NBA teams obviously love the shooting, but his playmaking (8:20-12:40 in clip below) in the open court and off his own drives might be what they love the most.

At his absolute floor, Howard could be a guy who comes off the bench and let’s it fly from deep. He has the upside to develop into a lead shot creator. I could see him thriving as a team’s sixth man in the right situation.

What he needs to work on

For as big as he is, Howard never really rebounded well in college. He averaged less than three per game, and the most he ever got in one game was seven in the win over Penn State. Part of that is because he was far away from the basket, but he didn’t bring a lot effort rebounding-wise on either end of the floor.

Howard did get a block every now and then, but he struggled defensively at times. He didn’t have the foot speed to stay in front of quick wings and he wasn’t strong enough to defend well in the post. He has the tools to be a solid defender, but he still has quite a bit of work to do.

He dealt with injuries to both ankles this season and while Michigan was being precautious, you have to worry at least a little bit about Howard’s long-term durability.

It’s no secret Michigan couldn’t finish close games this past season and as much as he’s billed as a scorer, Howard didn’t do a whole lot late in games. Granted, he was usually the third option behind Hunter Dickinson and Kobe Bufkin, so he didn’t get the ball much late in games. He definitely didn’t shy away from the moment but late in games, he didn’t seem to be as aggressive with the ball as he normally is.

If he continues to improve as a defender and a rebounder, his floor as a prospect rises immensely, and he could be a high-level 3-and-D guy with a lot of offensive upside.

We’ll have more on Howard’s fit in the coming days, and we’ll be sure to keep tabs on what is hopefully a lengthy pro career. Maize N Brew wishes him all the best; his length and scoring ability will be sorely missed on this year’s team, but he should be a reliable NBA contributor for years to come.