4. Jett Howard
Jett Howard has not played a minute in the NBA, but his potential alone is exciting for the Orlando Magic. The 6’8″ guard/forward played one season with Michigan, the alma mater of his father and coach, Juwan Howard. At Michigan, Howard averaged 14.2 points per game and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman First Team.
Jett will now suit up with the team that his father played for during the 2003-04 season, looking to follow in his footsteps and set himself on a path to become an All-Star. Howard’s strengths lie in his size and shooting ability. The 20 year old has tremendous size for a shooting guard and has the versatility to play the small forward as well. He shot 36.8% from deep in his freshman year, and this was on 7.3 three-point attempts per game. This solid shooting percentage on high volume is an incredibly encouraging sign for the Magic, as Howard will bring much needed shooting to an Orlando roster that was 25th in 3PM last season.
A few things that Howard will have to improve as he comes up to the NBA include his aggressiveness on offense and his defensive play. Howard did not do much damage off the dribble in college, which was concerning considering his physical prowess at his position. Additionally, he struggled on defense and was not adept at crashing the boards, averaging just 2.8 rebounds per game despite his size.
Regardless of these downsides, Howard has shown his ability as a scorer, including his 34 point burst against Iowa in January:
Howard showed his ability as a scorer, seemingly making every shot he put up. If Howard can tap into this scoring in the NBA, he will be able to make a strong career for himself.
3. Wendell Carter Jr.
Wendell Carter Jr. was selected 7th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2018 NBA Draft, and the Bulls had hoped that he would be their center for the future. He was with the Bulls in maybe their second worst era since the days of Michael Jordan, posting an abysmal 40-79 record with the team. Carter was poorly utilized by the Bulls, and he averaged 10.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in Chicago, shooting 50.9% from the field and 24.1% from long range. When the Bulls decided to go after Nikola Vucevic, they realized that they did not need Carter on the team, and he was young enough and had the potential to be a strong trade asset. This led him to be a key player in the Vucevic trade, and he seems to have found a home in Orlando.
Over the last two seasons, Wendell Carter Jr. has improved his numbers with the Magic, averaging 15.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while shooting 52.5% from the field and 34.2% from three. Carter has improved in every stat category except blocks per game, and he has shown that he is a really solid starting center while becoming a key player in the Orlando Magic core. Carter has shown his ability to make winning plays by scoring inside, shooting well from deep, and crashing the boards. This actually led to wins, including this game winner against the Detroit Pistons:
Carter Jr. has developed into the player that the Bulls had hoped he would be, and he is still only 24 years old. When analyzing this trade, Wendell Carter and Nikola Vucevic have largely become comparable players, and this is not even including the trajectory that both big men are on considering their career progression.