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Draft Column: Breaking down Jett Howard’s fit on the Orlando Magic, Kobe Bufkin’s fit on Atlanta Hawks

Howard can thrive as a three-point shooter with Orlando’s shot creators, while Bufkin is in a…more interesting position with Atlanta.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

For the third season in a row, two Michigan Wolverines have been selected in the NBA Draft, with Jett Howard going to the Orlando Magic at No. 11 and Kobe Bufkin heading to the Atlanta Hawks at No. 15. This is the first time Michigan has had two picks in the top-15 since Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose in 1994.

Both guys should get a chance to contribute right away for their respective teams. Let’s break down the fit for Howard and Bufkin.

Jett Howard

When it comes to Michigan players in the NBA, the Orlando Magic have really cornered the market. They have three Wolverines on their roster already in Mo Wagner, Franz Wagner and Caleb Houstan, and they just added a fourth in Jett Howard.

In his lone season at Michigan, Howard appeared in 29 games and averaged 14.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 41.4 percent from the field, 36.8 percent on threes and 80 percent from the free throw line.

His best skill was scoring in bunches and knocking down threes; Howard scored 15 points or more 14 times, with his career-high 34-point night coming against Iowa in an overtime loss.

That scoring ability has to be a big reason why the Magic picked Howard. Per, they were 26th in the league in points per game last season (111.4) and 24th in three-point percentage (34.6 percent). If he keeps shooting well, Howard should help boost those numbers.

The Magic have been one of the worst teams in the league the last few seasons, picking in the top-six the last three seasons. They have an encouraging young core surrounding last year’s No. 1 overall pick in Paolo Banchero, along with Franz Wagner, who has shown encouraging flashes as a creator.

Howard adds to that core, and complements the Magic well. He’s not going to be asked to be a superstar, but his offensive prowess should help him earn minutes right away. Not being asked to be a primary shot creator right away can help him adjust to the pace of the NBA and may help him improve as a defender and rebounder, two areas that could use improvement.

Since the Magic are set at forward with Banchero and Wagner, I’d imagine Howard will come off the bench, which I think will be good for him in the long run. Playing with a solid point guard in Cole Anthony can help set him up for good shots, and in the second unit, he gets room to grow as a shot creator. It’s also cool he gets to play with another Michigan sharpshooter in Caleb Houstan.

Will he be a star with the Orlando Magic? Probably not. But at the very least, he’ll be a solid scorer off the bench with the potential to grow as a playmaker with NBA spacing. Guys who are 6-foot-8 and can score at multiple levels tend to have lengthy pro careers.

Kobe Bufkin

Bufkin is the first Wolverine to be drafted by the Hawks since Rumeal Robinson was picked 10th overall in 1990.

As we covered extensively, Bufkin is so solid at both ends of the floor and grew immensely as a shotmaker and shot creator over his sophomore season. That being said, the fit with the Hawks doesn’t seem ideal.

It’s no secret the Hawks’ offense runs through Trae Young, and based on how often he has the ball, he doesn’t seem like the most fun guy to play with. Combine that with the Hawks being a consistent playoff team, along with Dejounte Murray and Bogdan Bogdanovic being two of the team’s four leading scorers, and it’s hard to find minutes for Bufkin his rookie season, especially if he struggles early on as a shot creator.

When it comes to pace of play, the Hawks were the fourth-fastest team in the league last season, and we know Bufkin can excel in transition because of his athleticism, finishing ability and basketball IQ.

The Hawks have plenty of solid three-point shooters in Young, Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter and Saddiq Bey. Playing next to all those three-point threats can help create opportunities for Bufkin on drives and cuts.

It also should be noted the Hawks are coached by Quinn Snyder, regarded as one of the brightest minds in the league. He can certainly get the most out of Bufkin, and he should be able to structure rotations so Bufkin is never the primary shot creator or the main focal point for defenses.

Bufkin proved to be pretty effective as an on-ball defender, and the Hawks can certainly use that in their backcourt with how bad Young is defensively. The Hawks are below average in most defensive metrics, so if Bufkin can be a solid defender of opposing guards, he can carve out a nice role for himself.

This upcoming season, I could see Bufkin being a reliable bench piece who can be counted for on defense while scoring a few points when defenses are focused on the Hawks’ primary scorers. If he can continue to improve as a shot creator, he has the potential to stick around in the NBA for a while.