2011 NBA Draft: Do Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard Have NBA Futures?

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 9: Shelvin Mack #1 and Matt Howard #54 of the Butler Bulldogs come off the floor during a timeout in the game against the Xavier Musketeers at Cintas Center on December 9, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Xavier defeated Butler 51-49. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard led the Butler Bulldogs on yet another improbable run to the National Championship game, but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed to be successful at the next level.

In fact, Matt Howard probably won't even get drafted.  He had a solid four-year career and saved his best season for last.  

As a senior, he averaged career highs in points with 16.4, rebounds with 7.7, and three-point percentage at just under 40.

Those numbers aren't bad, but he put them up as a Horizon League player, meaning he faced significantly worse competition than even Jimmer Fredette did.

If you were an NBA scout, would you be excited about a power forward who averaged 14 points and six rebounds a game over four years in that conference?

Also consider the fact that he's undersized.  He's listed at 6'8", but my eyes tell me that's a stretch of an inch or two.

He's not fast or terribly quick, and he doesn't have great athleticism to make up for his lack of traditional NBA big man size.

What Howard does have in abundance is heart.  He plays every second he's on the floor with a determination that cannot be ignored.

If he wants to play in the NBA, I can't imagine him putting in anything less than his best effort.

If someone takes a chance on him in the second round, it will be because of his attitude, but I don't see him being any more than an Eduardo Najera-type player.

As for Shelvin Mack, he could very well become a solid NBA point guard.  He's not an elite athlete and needs a lot of work on his passing and court vision, but he has some intangibles in place.

At 6'3" and 215 lbs, he has great size for a point guard.  Plus, he's strong, knows how to lead a team, and is deceptively quick with the ball.

Prior to the title game against Connecticut, a lot of mock drafts had Mack being selected at the end of the first round.

Unfortunately for Mack, that game exposed some things that had to worry NBA scouts and executives.  

He had a hard time against players with length on the perimeter, and couldn't finish inside against Connecticut's bigs.

Of course, none of that will matter in 2011 if Mack decides to return to Butler for his senior season.  He's still undecided on his draft status.

Both Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack are fantastic college players.  I have a hard time seeing either of them as starters in the NBA.

But if there's one thing we've learned about these guys in the last couple years, it's to never count them out.


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