It’s not fair, but sometimes life isn’t fair. Undersized prospects have to face that reality, especially if they find themselves entering the draft after their junior and senior years in college. Every draft has at least one prospect fitting that bill. Truth be told, players like Isaiah Thomas have made it an internal battle for franchises. He probably won’t be anything because he’s so small, but what if he has the heart and the toughness that made Isaiah Thomas so inspiring? That’s not an easy verdict to come to, and the wrong decision–even if not likely–could produce significant regret. Front offices will have to make that determination for Marquette guard Markus Howard.

Strengths

  • Size allows him to naturally stay under his man on-ball; light weight permits shiftiness
  • Prolific scorer, has to be accounted for at half-court; adept two-level scorer off the dribble
  • Gets to the free throw line, doesn’t shy away from contact
  • Tight ball-handler with sharp horizontal athleticism; can explode forward and beat bigger defenders off the dribble
  • High motor to run significant distance off-ball for open looks
  • Creates space for scores off the dribble going East to West

Weaknesses

  • Will be at a disadvantage in every matchup due to size, gives up a lot of ground in post
  • Offenses can shoot over him with ease
  • Lacks vertical athleticism
  • Doesn’t finish well around the rim
  • Struggles to create space for scores off the dribble going North to South
  • Not a creative passer for a guard with such an aggressive scoring package
  • Marquette took him off the court late in close games for defensive purposes from time to time

What Excites Me

Markus Howard has the ability to be different than a typical undersized guard reliant upon shooting from distance. He possesses the fluidity and East-West acceleration needed to get around bigger defenders and create space going downhill. His incredible proficiency as a distance shooter also makes him unpredictable. In a fast-paced league, Howard possesses the skills to be a dynamite spark plug for any team, even if his height limits his ceiling.

What Concerns Me

Howard will turn 22 during his rookie season, and his ceiling isn’t far above where he currently sits. Because he lacks any sort of crafty passing game, his skillset is predicated on an aggressive scoring mentality. While the prolific nature of his scoring is impressive, the NBA is full of scorers who can do more than Howard can on both ends and defenders that can neutralize Howard’s game. If no one takes a flyer on him in the draft or as an undrafted free agent this season, it’s difficult to project if he will ever get his chance. 

Best Fits

Any team in need of point guard depth or shooting would be an excellent fit for Markus Howard. Bear in mind, there’s a very good chance Howard makes it to undrafted free agency. If that becomes reality, all thirty teams have opportunities to pick him up.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks need to space the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee would like to move Eric Bledsoe once the transaction window opens. If they are able to achieve that goal, George Hill will be one of only two true point guard on the roster. The Bucks do have Frank Mason III, but Howard’s explosive perimeter scoring capacity fits better with the rest of Milwaukee’s roster.

Orlando Magic

If DJ Augustin departs, the Magic will be left without a true secondary point guard. Lacking any real source of offense outside of Nikola Vucevic, Howard would fit in as a spark to get things going if scoring dries up.

Oklahoma City Thunder

With Chris Paul on the verge of departure and Dennis Schroder headed to Los Angeles, the Thunder are without a point guard. With one of the best screeners in the NBA on the roster, Sam Presti could experiment with a Markus Howard-Steven Adams pairing as the Thunder head into a rebuild.

Stats To Know

  • Averaged over 20 points per game over four years at Marquette
  • Attempted more three-pointers per game than two-pointers per game in three of four collegiate seasons
  • Attempted more than 7 free throws per game in both his junior and senior seasons at Marquette

Draft

Highest I’d take him: 50th pick

Lowest I think he’ll be available: Undrafted

Ceiling: Isaiah Thomas

Floor: Jimmer Fredette

You can find the rest of our draft evaluations below!