Jett Howard hails from NBA royalty and he could be one of the most polished offensive players in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Jett Howard played his freshman season at Michigan under the watchful eye of head coach Juwan Howard, a 19-year NBA vet who also happens to be Jett’s father. The early returns were promising, with Howard the Younger quickly establishing himself as one of college basketball’s most electric shooters.
At 6-foot-8, it’s not hard to decipher the baseline appeal of Howard as a prospect. That intersection of positional size and flat-out elite shooting is hard to come by and extremely valuable. The fact that he grew up around the league probably won’t hurt his case with NBA teams.
Howard also gives tremendous effort every night and possesses the intangibles coaches love. He will have to sand off the rough edges of his game and prove to NBA teams that he’s more than hustle on the defensive end, but there’s reason to believe Howard could deliver lottery-level value to his future employer.
Jett Howard NBA Draft profile
Weight: 215 pounds
Birthdate: September 14, 2003
Position: Small Forward/Shooting Guard
Offensive Role: Spacer/Secondary Playmaker
Defensive Role: Off-ball wing
Projected Draft Range: 14-30
NBA Draft highlights
Howard is one of the best shooters on the board. He’s a legitimate threat on the move, comfortable firing off of screens with his quick, high release. His footwork is pristine and his mechanics are picturesque. There’s very little wasted movement and he’s comfortable making just about every type of jumper.
On top of his elite catch-and-shoot acumen, Howard can break his man down and get to his spots off the dribble. He executes wide, bouncy step-backs and side-steps to generate space. Closeout errantly at he will comfortably flow into a mid-range pull-up. Contest him well and it doesn’t always matter — he has a knack for tough shot-making.
Howard is much more than a shooter, too. He’s smart and unselfish playing within the flow of the offense. He’s great at rumbling downhill off of screens and locating the open cutter or rocketing a pass to a 3-point shooter in the corner. He keeps his head up and makes quick decisions on the ball.
He will need to share the floor with other playmakers, but Howard is comfortable running pick-and-rolls and DHOs. His passing flashes, combined with his pull-up shooting, suggest genuine offensive upside beyond his projected role as a spacer and off-ball scorer.
Howard’s effort on the defensive end is frequently outstanding. He gets after it, fights hard over screens, and is capable of momentum-shifting plays.
Howard is not an elite athlete. Despite his size, he can often feel positionless on the defensive end — and not in a good way. He’s too weak for stronger wings and forwards, but far too slow for perimeter creators. It’s also not uncommon for Howard to get his wires crossed defending switches and complex actions. He will fight for every possession, but NBA offenses will target and exploit him.
On the offensive end, Howard isn’t particularly bursty. When pressured at the point of attack he struggles to turn the corner, which limits his offensive ceiling. He doesn’t finish well at the rim either. He will face more athletic defenders and bouncier rim protectors in the NBA. To put it plainly: he will be very reliant on jumpers.
Howard’s production at Michigan was also somewhat lopsided. He started red-hot before tapering off late in the season due to multiple ankle injuries. A clean bill of health should make Howard’s late-season struggles easy to overlook, but his stock on intel-based draft boards noticeably plummeted in February and March.
Howard is the No. 16 prospect on the FanSided big board. The defensive concerns are the primary drawback, as Howard should have no trouble contributing offensively in the NBA. He’s going to stretch defenses thin with his shooting and punish over-eager closeouts.
His tremendous shot-making ability, especially when contested and under pressure, could appeal to a certain roster-building sensibility. Even if he can’t put pressure on the rim or become a primary creation hub, Howard will accentuate other playmakers and he’s capable of grinding out possessions and making something out of nothing when the game stalls.
It’s uncommon to find 19-year-olds with Howard’s level of shooting consistency and offensive polish. He may never be a good defender, which will probably keep him out of the lottery, but Howard’s winning effort, shooting gravity, and high basketball I.Q. make him easy to believe in.
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