Baskonia is not among the most active teams in the EuroLeague transfer market so far, but they made a great move with the signing of Markus Howard. Howard signed a two-year deal with the Basques, and he will make his debut in the EuroLeague.
Howard has been known for his scoring ability since his college days. Going undrafted in 2020, Howard was a consensus First Team All-American and he was also the 2019 Big East Player of the Year while he was at Marquette.
He was also the NCAA’s season scoring leader in 2020. In his four seasons in Marquette, he averaged 21.6 points on 44/42/88 shooting splits. During his last season, he had a career best averaged of 27.8 points on 42/41/82 shooting splits.
A deadly shooter from deep, he found a two-way contract with the Denver Nuggets during the 2020-21 season and played in a total of 31 games. Suffering an awkward looking left knee sprain in December, Howard ended up missing about a month’s worth of action.
In his time on the floor with the Nuggets this past season, Markus Howard averaged 4.1 points per game on 38.6% shooting from the floor, 40.0% shooting from three-point range. He also spent some time in the G League with the Colorado Grand Rapids.
He averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and shooting 36.8% from three-point range in the G League. Howard has all the tools to become a dominant scoring guard in the European level the same way that Mike James is dominating the EuroLeague now.
James, who had his first EuroLeague experience in Baskonia, quickly thrived as a scoring guard in the EuroLeague and he even played in the NBA for a couple of seasons with Phoenix, New Orleans and Brooklyn.
His shot making and his ability to create his own shot made him one of the top scorers in the EuroLeague the last few years. He played for Baskonia (two seasons), Panathinaikos, Olimpia Milano, CSKA Moscow and now AS Monaco Basket.
He has career averages of 16.3 points on 50 percent from two-point range, 33 percent on three-pointers and 81 percent from the free throw line in 121 EuroLeague games during his career.
Back in Howard, the Marquette product can have a similar career in Europe. He’s kind of better shooter from beyond the arc in contrast with James, but he can easily make his way to the basket having an NBA-ready body.
According to 3Stepbasket.com, Howard is an extremely ball-dominant guard. Even in his limited time in Denver, he had an Usg Ratg of 29.5 percent, being in the 95th percentile of the league in that regard.
His shot-making is the strongest trait of the game, with most of his attempts coming from the center and the left side of the court. However, his best percentages were in the opposite side, as he made 61 percent of his 21 attempts from the right side.
His usual spot seems to be the center of the court with 87 percent of his two-point attempts coming from that spot. Overall, he shot 50 attempts on a 43.6 clip attacking from that point.
An encouraging sign for Howard could definitely be advanced shooting stats. He finished his stint in Denver with a 52.5 EFG% and 56.7 TS%, who are in the league’s averages even if they came in a limited time of play.
Per NBA.com, his per 36 stats are 25.6 points per contest with 38/40/87 shooting splits along with 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 31 appearances in the NBA last season. Not bad for a sophomore guard, who went undrafted.
Howard is long-known for his ability to put the ball in the basket. However, his handles and his ability to attack off the dribble is also a strong trait of his game. Due to his size, Howard can dribble the ball to a low point and avoid bigger opponents.
In some highlighted performances last year, Howard showcased his ability to be in a constant attack mode. He scored a career-high 23 points vs the Blazers on May 20 during the 2020-21 campaign.
He had 21 points in a Nuggets’ blowout victory vs the San Antonio Spurs seven months ago showcasing again different aspects from his game. His game includes making tough shots over defenders, creating space with his dribble, a quick release and pure shot mechanics.
In Baskonia, his role will definitely include more on-ball duties, as the Nuggets viewed more as a pure shooter and scorer. In my opinion, Howard will amped up his numbers in assists and scoring in the paint in the EuroLeague.
It will be interesting to see if he can form a connection with high-flying big man Steven Enoch, who had a great start in his overseas career last season with the Spanish powerhouse.
Howard will be the battering ram of Baskonia’s offense, and while his defense is not his strong suit, he put muscle during the last season. However, his size (1.80m/ 5’10”) will make it difficult for him to have an impact in the defensive end.
All in all, Baskonia definitely was attracted by Howard’s ability to put the ball in the basket. With several guards spending time with the team and becoming legit starters in contending clubs afterwards, Baskonia seems to be the right place for Howard to start his overseas career.
As of now, the Spanish club signed two players since they hired head coach Joan Penarroya. They added Howard as their potential starting guard and signed Daulton Hommes, who also had a strong NCAA career before making it to the pros.