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DNHQ Draft Tourney Round 2. Jett Howard (1) vs Noah Clowney (9)
shot maker (with ankle issues) vs super mobile defender
Our Draft Tournament
Yes, we are still having our FOURTH annual DNHQ Draft Tournament, where Dub Nation gets to vote on whom the Warriors should draft via head to head showdowns.
The draft will happen on Jun 22 2023, 5pm.
If the Warriors end up trading the pick, I’ll end the draft tournament early.
Round 1 Results
Jett Howard 54%
Brandin Podziemski 46%
I didn’t vote, but I would have rolled the dice on Podz (hence why I included him as a wild card entry). But I didn’t want to be the guy overriding the popular DNHQ vote. Picking Podz is the kind of high-risk stab I approve of, as his competition level and athleticism are a question but his effective creativity seems to follow in the footsteps of Santa Clara alums Steve Nash and Jalen Williams. Jett’s defense seems uncertain enough that to make me worry he can’t be part of a championship team.
Dariq Whitehead 41%
Noah Clowney 59%
Very little appetite to take on a potentially long injury rehab for Whitehead, and Dub Nation is high on defense right now. But the discussion in the comments was very evenly divided.
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Jett Howard | 6-8 wing | 19 years old | Michigan
Jett, coach Juwan’s son, made a ton of threes this season. At 14 per 100 possessions, Howard made 37% and self-created one of every four. Funnily enough, watching the tape you could imagine those numbers rising even higher.
Howard is unbelievably comfortable getting into his shot no matter the context. Although not without flaws – we’ll get into those later – he has the exact type of athleticism where he can rebalance into his pocket in an instant no matter from what position. His form is about ideal, following through consistently and dedicated about his footwork.
Adding on to his flamethrower decal, Jett is also an exceptional passer with good handle. He is both accurate and decisive, limited only by his negative first step where his handle is often dedicated to buying time more than taking space.
This all adds up to a dynamo of an offensive player who will be difficult to keep from scoring, regardless of role. He is shy attacking the basket with a narrow frame, but touch is feathery enough that even a 15-foot floater feels like an acceptable shot.
Now, the defense. Jett is the most significant difference between offense and defense of all prospects i’ve covered so far, as limited in physicality he can provide as well as prone to fall asleep or be a step slow getting around screens.
What’s extremely encouraging, and helped me gain comfort with him as a lotto pick is he did show signs of wanting to use his full wing size. His blocks improved from nonexistent to occasional, making up for the small guard count of rebounds. He was also playing on sprained ankles most of the season, looking more present of a presence in his high school years.
I can’t wait to watch Jett Howard in the NBA. His shot would be my favorite in the class if Gradey Dick wasn’t in it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up its best shooter, or even its best scorer (outside of Wemby). The shooting will stick fast, I just hope the defense is good enough to keep him stuck in.
The Scout: I’m a bit lower on Howard than most, but let’s mention the good first on why he’s projected to be taken in the first round. He’s a tremendous shot maker and shooter who has some of the best shot prep in this draft, which allows him to be a genuine threat off NBA-caliber actions. Michigan ran a ton of Zoom and Pistol actions, using him in dribble handoffs. The Wolverines ran him off screening actions regularly to try to get him loose. He’s a teenager who averaged 14 points and hit 37 percent from 3 on high volume and also showcased the ability to relocate and score from the midrange. Here’s the issue: Michigan was about seven points per 100 possessions better when Howard was off the court because he was such a negative defender. He can’t move in space and also isn’t strong enough now to guard down the lineup. He has a ways to go on that end.
Feel for the Game
Knockdown 3-point shooter with the potential to hit off movement. He’s also comfortable pulling up from midrange and loves using a floater.
High-IQ wing who knows how to be a playmaker, not just a scorer. He thrives in NBA-style actions, a lot like Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks do for the Grizzlies. He’ll slingshot around screens or handoffs toward the middle of the floor, take a dribble to draw the defense, and then fire a pass to a big man rolling to the basket. It’s an action every pro offense runs, and he runs it to perfection because of his improvisational feel.
He wants to be a good defender. Effort is never an issue; it’s just his positioning and awareness. But he hustles to recover to shooters, logs help blocks, and fights over screens. In overtime against Ohio, he made multiple clutch plays down the stretch to help Michigan get the win with on-ball stops and blocks.
He’s the son of former NBA All-Star Juwan Howard, who played 19 years in the league.
On the ball, struggles to contain faster perimeter scorers. He gets too flat-footed, which hurts his lateral quickness.
Loses track of his man too often while off the ball since he ball watches. There are instances when he’ll completely leave his man open behind the arc because of confusion about who he’s supposed to match up against.
The Jett Howard vs. Kobe Bufkin Debate
While doing The Game Theory Podcast with Sam Vecenie this May, he and I recorded a mock draft and discussed the bizarre on-off numbers taking place at Michigan. The question, from one of the live show’s viewers, was built around the idea of Michigan being a non-tournament team despite having two first-round talents in Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin, as well as coveted big man Hunter Dickinson.
At around the hour-and-fifteen mark of the video (timestamped here) the first Michigan player was taken in our mock, and Sam very eloquently handled a question about what the breakdown of the on-off stats for Bufkin and Howard might indicate about how or why the Wolverines were unsuccessful.
I’ll just let Sam take it away from here…
I’m not a major fan of on-off stats because they are very roster-dependent. The quality of a backup has a lot to do with determining the metrics for a single player. For Michigan to have quality point guard Dug McDaniel also on the roster to ease the minutes while Bufkin is off the floor is, to me, an important part of this context.
Howard, the team’s far-and-away best shooter, should’ve seen a boost from the lack of floor spacing the Wolverines could generate when he sat. Instead, the opposite happened: Michigan’s defense got so much better than it more than offset his shooting absence.
These numbers clearly don’t tell the entire story, but they are a start to contextualizing when and how some lineup data should and should not be seen as a negative when a prospect is coming from an under-achieving team
Noah Clowney | 6-10 forward | 18 years old | Alabama
Plays with an edge and possesses the type of defensive versatility valued in the NBA
Super mobile defender with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and great energy. He constantly hustles, showing a willingness to step in front of drives to contest shots. He makes second and third efforts, and does it with great awareness and anticipation. Despite his youth, he also shows good discipline by not biting on fakes.
Projects as a versatile piece of a defense that asks its bigs to switch, hedge, and drop depending on the opponent. He had a play against Houston in which he hedged a ball screen, recovered to his original man, then rotated to a corner 3 shooter and elevated to block his shot. A combination of athleticism, effort, and intelligence was required to make the play.
Hard-nosed rebounder who boxes out and fights for boards.
Versatile ball-screen threat since he could become a shooter, and he’s already skilled on the roll. He has soft hands to catch tough passes, and in the paint he has great patience going up for layups. If he can’t fly for a dunk off the catch, he will use multiple pump fakes if necessary to generate space. And if he catches the ball on the short roll, he handles it well enough to attack off the bounce and spray passes around the court.
Looks the part as a 3-point shooter with comfortable mechanics on standstill tries from the corner or pick-and-pops from above the break. He’s making 31.4 percent from 3 on the season, including a long 38.5 percent stretch after starting 2 for 16.
One of the youngest players in the class. He doesn’t turn 19 until July, yet already brings a mature, selfless attitude.
Adding strength is a priority in order to handle post defense against stronger interior players.
Despite his success behind the arc so far in his freshman season, he’s still an unproven shooter who shoots only 54.9 percent from the free throw line and has shot below 30 percent from 3 going back to high school.
The Scout: NBA personnel on the team side love guys who are big, young, defensively-conscious and have potential to shoot. Clowney ticks just about every single one of those boxes. He played this entire season at 18 years old, he’s 6-10 with about a 7-3 wingspan, and he covers ground on the defensive end at a really high level. He rebounds. And he took over four 3-point attempts per game this past season. Now, Clowney did not make a ton of those 3s (28 percent) but the shot is clean and workable. I’m not quite as high on him as the rest of the NBA, as I worry a little bit about him guarding in space with how high his hips are and how he is able to cut off guards. But he has great help instincts, and as his body fills out, I wonder if he can keep improving his mobility overall. He’s a first-round talent. He’ll just take some time.
16. Noah Clowney (Dean on Draft)
Clowney is 6’10, athletic, and super young as he does not turn 19 until shortly after the draft on Bastille Day.
In spite of his youth, Clowney is averaging 10 pts and 8.3 rebounds in 25.3 minutes starting for one of the best teams in the country in Alabama.
He is also a somewhat capable shooter, at least for his height and age making 27% 3P on 3.4 3PA per game and 61.3% FT.
But he is still incredibly raw, and has disappointingly low steal and block rates for his physical profile. He is prone to being jumpy on defense as well, as he occasionally will have lapses where he yields a clear path to the rim for the opposing ball handler. To some extent this can be forgiven for youth, but it is somewhat of an odd flaw that makes it difficult to get too high on his upside.
That said, Clowney is nevertheless a reasonable upside swing compared to everybody else on the board.
March 14, 2023 (Givony, ESPN)
Clowney propelled himself into one-and-done conversations by playing an integral role for arguably the best team in college basketball, despite being one of the youngest freshmen in the class. He fits a clear NBA mold as a mobile, long-armed, high-energy big man with legit floor-spacing ability and outstanding defensive versatility. He plays a mature style that bodes well for his long-term outlook as his thin frame continues to evolve over time. Clowney's productivity and perimeter shooting have been inconsistent, but he has played some of his best games against high-level competition, which bodes well for Alabama as it moves into the most important games of its season.-- Jonathan Givony
Another birth-certificate bet, Clowney was asked to play as a stretch four on one of the best teams in the country despite the fact that he’s not really ready to be a stretch four. At least yet. This is a classic case of a young, thin player still needing to grow into his body and refine some of his movement, but Clowney is long and fairly skilled.
There is a stretch five here several years down the road, but the question is what Clowney can be between now and then. It’s possible he becomes another Jalen Smith, where he doesn’t give you enough offense at the four but isn’t filled out enough physically to play the five.
It’s worth the risk at this point in the draft. Despite his youth and size, Alabama trusted Clowney to guard the perimeter a ton. He has high hips and his first slide isn’t always great, but he could make up ground late and has his size to fall back on. He also had a knack for taking charges, something that makes up for his middling shot-blocking rate (3.4 percent). Clowney also rebounded at a very high level (15.5 percent) despite ample competition for boards on a big Alabama front line and did not have a notably high foul rate.
Offensively, Clowney’s 3-point percentage (28.3 percent) didn’t line up with the eye test. His stroke is pretty fluid, and it seems only a matter of time before he finds the net more frequently. His 64.9 percent mark from the line is equally sobering. Nonetheless, given his youth and smooth release, I think he’s going to be a league-average shooter before long.
Again, at this point in the draft, it’s an upside risk on a player who might bomb. Clowney is extremely unlikely to play meaningful minutes as a rookie, but in a few years, he could be a starter
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The DNHQ Big Board…
Super commenter void has made (again) a web app where you can record your Big Board for our limited pool of Draft Tourney participants.
void’s DNHQ Big Board Vote Site
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