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Is Markus Howard a Legitimate NBA Prospect?

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The Markus Howard Scouting Report: Is the NCAA’s Leading Scorer a Legitimate NBA Prospect?

PG/SG Markus Howard (Marquette, Senior)

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 180lbs
  • Wingspan: 6’0
  • Draft Day Age: 21
  • ’19-20 Stats (as of 2/14/20): 27.3 PPG/ 3.3 RPG/ 3.1 APG/ 1.0 SPG/ 41% FG/ 39% 3P/ 84% FT (23 G)
  • Career Stats (as of 2/14/20): 21.2 PPG/ 3.2 RPG/ 3.0 APG/ 1.0 SPG/ 44% FG/ 42% 3P/ 88% FT
  • Specialist Potential: Microwave scorer, three point

 

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1217879882262286336

Key Pros

  • Possesses a special combination of shooting, shot creation and tough shot making that can make an impact on the NBA level. If Howard was 6’2, he would be ranked among the prospects in this class or likely already in the NBA.
  • Natural scorer that can score in bunches and a variety of ways: isolation, his go-to step-back jumper, pull up threes, mid range pull ups, on- and off-ball screens, spot ups, at the rim (44.2% on field goals at the rim) and free throw line (8.4 FTA per game, 84% FT).
  • Although Howard is at his best with the ball in his hands, he can play off the ball as a floor-spacing three-point specialist with deep range (53.2% of his three pointers are assisted). He is one of the best shooters in this class and his career three-point shooting numbers (42% 3P on 7.8 attempts per game) are comparable to elite collegiate shooters shooters such as J.J. Redick (40% 3P on 8.1 attempts per game), Steph Curry (41% on 9.7 attempts per game) and Klay Thompson (39% on 6.3 attempts per game).
  • Producing historical scoring numbers in a storied Power Five conference and one of the best conferences this season while being the number one player listed on opposing scouting reports. Howard has produced three career 50-point games and has scored 35 or more points six times this season, including 40 points against Davidson and 51 against USC in back-to-back games during the Orlando Classic.

 

Cons

  • Underwhelming physical tools (undersized at 5’11, an essentially even wingspan at 6’0, subpar positional explosion and athleticism)
  • Due to his lack of size and ideal physical tools, Howard will experience increased difficulty finishing at the rim against NBA bigs and will be a defensive liability, even with his improved effort. Teams will matchup hunt against Howard, looking to both get advantage switches and put him in isolation situations.
  • Is a score-first shooting guard in an undersized point guard’s body that isn’t a reliable playmaker for his teammates and lacks natural point guard instincts.
  • Near 1:1 career assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.0 APG to 2.9 turnovers per game.
  • Plays hero-style basketball with streaks of questionable shot selection. Can he adjust?
  • Doesn’t possess an NBA-caliber ancillary skill to impact the game when he is struggling to score.

Swing Factors: Playmaking and point guard skills

Offensive Role: Microwave scorer, shot creator, floor spacer, shared primary ball handler

Defensive Role: Effort defender, hidden defender

Role Category: High-end rotation player (ceiling)/ part-time rotation player (floor)

NBA Comp: Blend of a less physically-gifted Carsen Edwards with shades of Isaiah Thomas.

Conclusion

Howard is an undersized guard that can be an impactful player at the NBA level with his ability to score in bunches, consistently make tough shots and his high-level three-point shooting. There are major concerns about Howard’s lack of size, underwhelming physical tools and shot selection. Possessing one of the best combinations of creative scoring, shot making and three point shooting offered in this draft, Howard should be considered in the second round despite the glaring concerns about his size and physical tools.

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