From an individual achievement standpoint, you won’t find too many players that had a more decorated college career than Howard. In four years at Marquette, Howard was a two-time consensus All-American, received All-Big East honors three times and won the conference’s player of the year in 2018-19.
He’s also etched his name in the NCAA record books. He’s 21st all-time in points, wedged between former Sixer JJ Redick and Philadelphia native Hank Gathers. He’s tied for seventh in threes made. He also holds the Big East record in both categories.
Howard can flat out shoot it and score it. He averaged 27.8 points a game his senior season after averaging 25 the season prior. He proved to be one of the best shooters in NCAA history. He hit 42.7 percent of his threes in college on a whopping 7.9 attempts a game. His range and ability to get his shot off in any circumstance are also elite.
He did his fair share of damage against a certain local school.
While Howard isn’t the most adept ball handler, he’s more than capable of attacking closeouts and punishing defenses for playing him too closely — something that happens very often. He had experience at Marquette both running the offense and playing off the ball. In both instances, he was a score-first guard.
It also can't be understated that Howard did his damage an increasingly difficult Big East conference.
It all comes down to Howard’s size. At 5-foot-11, there are going to be plenty of questions about whether Howard can deal with the size of NBA guards. Will he be able to get his shot off against size? Can he use his shot to his advantage to create space off the dribble? Will he be big enough and strong enough when asked to defend bigger guards?
He’s also not the most athletic guard in the draft. This will also hurt him on both sides of the ball in trying to get by and keep up with NBA guards. Along with his size, that could severely hurt his draft stock.
On top of that, while Howard has a bit of combo guard ability, he’s definitely more of a two than a one. He averaged more turnovers than assists during his senior year. Granted, it was Howard’s job to score — which he did extremely well — but there are valid concerns about his ability to play the point at the next level.
The Sixers need shooting and scoring so in that regard Howard would be an ideal fit. Given his size and lack of elite athleticism, he’ll likely slip to the middle of the second round. The Sixers currently own four second-rounders — 34, 36, 49, 59. Given their roster construction — and mainly the fact that they have a 6-foot-10 point guard — the Sixers are uniquely suited to take a flyer on a player like Howard.
Another intriguing thing about him is that he just turned 21 last month even after spending four years in college. He’d likely tear up the G League while in the team’s player development program. Much like Shake Milton and Marial Shayok before him, the Blue Coats would put the ball in Howard's hands and let him learn and grown in their system.
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