5 things we learned from Orlando Magic Summer League
Jett Howard can shoot it
Undoubtedly, the biggest need for the Orlando Magic this offseason was to get more shooting. The team needed shooters to spread the floor and give the team’s drivers and playmakers the space to do what makes them good.
Not to mention, so much of the Magic’s more improvisational, read-based offense works better when there are shooters creating space for the drivers and cutters.
The team was lacking in that and it felt like if Magic did not come away with shooters from the draft, something had gone horribly wrong — it helped that Orlando added some shooting too in free agency with the acquisition of Joe Ingles.
To see Jett Howard perform the way he performed though seemed to be confirmation of the team’s faith in his shooting.
Jett Howard himself was a controversial pick it seemed because the mock drafts and draft writers had other shooters — such as Kansas guard and now-Toronto Raptors guard Gradey Dick — ahead of him. But Howard did his part to put those concerns to rest.
In three Summer League games, he averaged 13.3 points per game while shooting 15 for 39 (38.5 percent) from the floor and 8 for 20 (40.0 percent) from three. He certainly was not shy about getting his shots up.
Granted too, he made half of those 3-point shots in his finale against the New York Knicks.
What impressed about Howard was how replicable everything he did seemed to be. It is easy to see Howard getting the same shots he got in Summer League during a regular season game with the Magic’s roster.
That should be exciting, especially considering how much the Magic need someone who can just flat-out put the ball in the basket from the perimeter.
On top of this, Howard showed more attention to detail and ability defensively than he perhaps showed in college at Michigan. Being healthy has certainly gone a long way for him.
Still, there is plenty for Howard to improve on.
He was given more license to try to shoot off the dribble and attack the paint. That ability and potential at his size is one of the reasons the Magic drafted him over sharpshooters like Gradey Dick and Jordan Hawkins.
But Howard struggled a bit creating his own shot and struggled to attack the rim off the dribble. Not that he did not show the potential to one day develop this. But it is still a long way away.
Orlando is not likely to put the ball in Howard’s hands and let him create as they did in Summer League. So it is not likely a concern the things he struggled with.