2020 NBA draft profiles: Markus Howard is undersized but is a historic shooter/scorer

2020 NBA draft profiles: Markus Howard is undersized but is a historic shooter/scorer

Markus Howard

Position: PG/SG
Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
School: Marquette

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. 

Strengths

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. 

Weaknesses

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. 

Fit

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.

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

2020 NBA draft profile: High-scoring guard Myles Powell could be intriguing second-rounder

2020 NBA draft profile: High-scoring guard Myles Powell could be intriguing second-rounder

Myles Powell

Position: PG/SG
Height: 6-2
Weight: 195
School: Seton Hall

Myles Powell is not only a Seton Hall legend, he's one of the best players in the history of the Big East conference. He finished his illustrious four-year career with 2,252 points, the ninth-highest total in conference history. Powell ranks ahead of legends like Kerry Kittles, Derrick Coleman and Gerry McNamara on the Big East's career scoring list. He averaged 21 points as a senior, earning First Team All-American and Big East Player of the Year honors while leading Seton Hall to a share of the conference's regular season championship.

Unfortunately for Powell — and every other college basketball player, for that matter — this past season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. He never had the opportunity to end his senior year with a Big East Tournament title or a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Had Powell led Seton Hall to a Final Four, his NBA Draft stock would have improved significantly. Pro scouts and executives could have seen him put a team on his back and shine on the big stage. As it is, he's a fringe second-round pick who may not be drafted at all.

Powell has always reminded me of former Villanova star Scottie Reynolds, both in size and skill set. They were both dynamic scoring guards at the college level. Both scored over 2,200 points and were named First Team All-Americans. But like Reynolds, Powell isn't a true point guard and doesn't have the size or elite athleticism required to play off the ball in the NBA. Despite being one of the best players to ever suit up for his college program, Reynolds never played a minute in the NBA. Powell is hoping to avoid that same fate.

Strengths

To borrow a borderline ridiculous basketball expression, Powell can “score the ball.” He averaged more than 23 points as a junior before scoring 21 points per game this past season. Powell scores in bunches and took over games on a regular basis at Seton Hall. When he heated up and started making shots from the perimeter, he was basically unguardable on the college level. He's fearless driving to the basket and very crafty in terms of finishing around the basket. Powell can score in a variety of ways. 

Powell always plays hard and is accustomed to being the focal point of opposing defenses. He's very good at moving without the ball and he's used to dealing with double teams. He also doesn't lack for confidence and never shied away from the big moment. Powell seemed to relish the opportunity to be a star in the New York metropolitan area. He always brought his A-game to Madison Square Garden and the Big East Tournament. He won't back down from any challenges as he tries to prove he's an NBA player. 

Weaknesses

As mentioned, Powell doesn't have a natural position. He was a combo guard in college. He’s a decent passer and facilitator, but he generally had a score-first mentality. He's too small and too inconsistent of a shooter to be considered a traditional NBA two-guard. After shooting right around 37 percent from three-point range as a sophomore and junior, Powell dipped to just over 30 percent this past season while attempting more than nine three-point shots per game.  

Powell also has the tendency to be careless with the ball. He averaged in the neighborhood of three turnovers per game the last two seasons. There are also valid questions about his ability to defend at the pro level. Powell lacks the elite lateral quickness required to stay in front of NBA guards.

Fit

If Powell makes it in the NBA, it will likely be as a scoring guard off the bench. He's a guy who could provide some offensive punch in limited minutes. The Sixers could use a guy like that. 

Powell will likely be available late in the second round and right now the Sixers have the 49th and 59th overall selections. They could consider drafting him with one of those picks, or they could try to sign him to a two-way contract if he goes undrafted.

I have a lot of respect for Powell as a competitor. It wouldn't surprise me if he defies the odds and carves out a decent NBA career for himself.

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

2020 NBA Draft profile: Ashton Hagans could provide a T.J. McConnell-like spark off Sixers' bench

2020 NBA Draft profile: Ashton Hagans could provide a T.J. McConnell-like spark off Sixers' bench

Ashton Hagans

Position: PG
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 198 pounds
School: Kentucky

Ashton Hagans showed some real brilliance in his second year at Kentucky, but the guard also showed some immaturity and weaknesses as well. It was a bit of a mixed bag. Once thought to be a possible first-round draft pick, Hagans is more likely a mid-second-rounder. But given his flashes of greatness and his youth, he could be a steal for a team at that draft position.  

Strengths

With two other quality guards in Kentucky’s lineup, Hagans played both on and off the ball this past season. Hagans’ speed and exceptional court vision serve him well as a point guard. He is an excellent passer and boosted his assist average by more than two assists a game — 4.3 his freshman year to 6.4 his sophomore year. Hagans’ assist-to-turnover ratio this past season was about 2-to-1 on average but it actually improved as the season progressed. 

His speed not only serves him well for fast breaks and dishing to teammates but also for his defense. Hagans is one of the better defending point guards available in the draft this year. He came up with just under two steals a game and turns that into instant offense on the other end. He’s spoken on a number of occasions about the effort he puts in on his defense, and how he aims for it to be a hallmark of his game.

Weaknesses

Hagans’ one glaring weakness is his jump shot, specifically his three-pointer. Not that long ago, the point guard role was seen as a facilitator and not a shooter, but that has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. It’s the expectation, not the exception, that NBA point guards shoot and make a decent percentage of three-point shots.

Go back to Rajon Rondo though. He was a quintessential point guard, driving to the basket and doling out double-digit assist numbers. But those days are over and it’s not the norm to have a non-three-point-shooting point guard. Hagans made only 26 percent of his treys and he only averaged about two attempts from three a game. This is one of the reasons he will be a second-rounder in a draft full of guards. 

I recently watched Hagans in a pre-draft workout video and the first two minutes of it were solely made three-pointers. Of course, it’s edited — why would you put in the misses? — but he’s clearly working on that part of his game. 

Hagans' size, while decent with a 6-6 wingspan, is a little deceiving with his strength. There are times where he was pushed around from a driver in the lane. There is also some concern about his maturity and NBA-readiness. Some of those readiness question marks stem from his lack of strength, but a lot of the questions come from his decision to take the final game of the regular season off and stay in Lexington, rather than travel with the team to Florida. 

There’s a lot to unpack there, but I will tell you that Kentucky can be a pressure-packed environment with a passionate fan base, and some can be unkind (sound familiar?). Hagans said he needed to step away briefly to focus on his mental health, something we should praise instead of malign. However, it has caused some concern about his mentality heading into a professional setting. The NBA isn’t a picnic. Hagans did rejoin the team upon their return and was prepared to play in the postseason. He has spoken openly about his state of mind and being ready for the next level. 

Fit

For the Sixers, Hagans would fit because of his defensive mindset and his ability to run their pace of play. He is a hard worker on the court and does a lot of things that do not show up on the stat sheet. That type of player is always welcome in the Sixers’ system. 

If Hagans’ outside jumper has improved as his pre-draft work shows, then he could also be a valuable bench option for the Sixers. Right now, I would fit him in as a more athletic T.J. McConnell, who always provided quite the spark for the team when he entered the game. Hagans is a very good court general and can run an offensive with efficiency as well, proving him to be a second-round value selection. 

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers