By Tim Jones
There was no secret that the Magic would be searching to address the need for shooting with one of the team’s two draft picks in the lottery. For a team that finished 25th in the NBA in three-point percentage, filling out the roster with guys who can knock down shots from the perimeter is crucial if they are looking to take the next step. Given this need for outside shooting, selecting Anthony Black at No. 6 was a bit of a shocker to some. He’s an extremely talented playmaker and defender, but seems to be far from a knock-down shooter at the moment (30% from three at Arkansas). With several guys still on the board that could fulfill their needs, the Magic decided that 6’8 Jett Howard out of Michigan was their guy with the 11th pick.
Let’s dive in and take a look at Jett Howard’s game and what he will bring to the Orlando Magic.
Jett Howard is a true sniper, a reputation he earned while at IMG Academy as a four-star recruit. As a freshman at Michigan, he continued to impress, shooting an impressive 37% from beyond the arc on seven attempts per game. In the fiercely competitive Big Ten, Howard ranked third in three-point percentage and in total three-pointers made with 78. Howard especially excels in catch and shoot situations, where he shot 39%. With his combination of size, quick release, and the ability to hit shots with a hand in his face, Howard stands out as a valuable asset on the perimeter.
Potential On-Ball Creation
Beyond his sharpshooting abilities, Jett Howard demonstrates remarkable creativity off the dribble, which helps make him a lethal pull-up shooter. His ball-handling skills are often underrated, yet Howard possesses a crafty and deceptive tight handle that allows him to get to his spots on the court. While he may not possess elite quickness or blow-by speed, his craftiness enables him to create advantages and capitalize on scoring opportunities.
The potential for Howard to evolve beyond a role as a standstill shooter in the pros is the most intriguing facet of his future development. His impressive handle suggests that he has the capability to develop into a versatile offensive threat, capable of creating his own shot and disrupting opposing defenses.
Another aspect of Jett Howard's game that is often overlooked is his abilities as a playmaker. During his college tenure, he thrived in two-man actions, executing dribble handoffs and pick-and-rolls with precision, finding the open man on time and on target. Howard showcased his ability to make smart and decisive reads on the court with the ball in his hands. Though he likely will not be a primary creator, especially early on, he should be more than capable operating as a secondary guy and making plays off the ball.
The road to playing meaningful minutes out the gate will likely be difficult for Howard. At the guard/wing position, the Magic are loaded with young talent, along with veterans like Gary Harris and newly acquired free agent Joe Ingles. However, Howard's unique skill set and proficiency as a sharpshooter give him a legitimate chance to earn minutes early on. His ability to space the floor and knock down shots from beyond the arc is precisely what the Magic need to complement their playmakers. When he does see action, he should have no problem getting open looks playing alongside guys like Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, and even Ingles. If his impressive shooting display from his college days translates, it will be hard for Coach Mosley to keep him off the court.
In drafting Jett Howard, the Orlando Magic have secured a promising prospect who addresses their need for outside shooting while offering added versatility on the offensive end. His lethal three-point shooting, combined with his potential as an on-ball creator make him a valuable addition to the team's roster. If he can replicate his college success in the NBA and continue his upward trajectory, the Magic may have found themselves a gem with the 11th overall pick. Only time will tell, but the future looks bright for both Jett Howard and the Orlando Magic.
Jett’s Summer League
Game 1 vs. Detroit: 8 PTS, 3-13 FG, 2-7 3PT, 4 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL
Game 2 vs. Indiana: 10 PTS, 4-9 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2 REB, 5 AST, 1 BLK
Game 3 vs. New York: 22 PTS, 8-17 FG, 4-8 3PT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK
Averages: 13.3 PPG, 38.5 FG%, 40 3P%, 3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.3 SPG
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