Magic's Jett Howard Impressed With Anthony Black's Growth Ahead of Summer League

Orlando Magic's 2023 first-round pick Anthony Black has impressed his teammate Jett Howard with his improvement since their rookie seasons.
Orlando Magic guard Anthony Black (0) defends New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the second half at KIA Center.
Orlando Magic guard Anthony Black (0) defends New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the second half at KIA Center. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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ORLANDO — No player is as connected to Anthony Black as fellow 2023 first-round pick Jett Howard.

The Magic second-year players were just five picks apart in last year's draft and have essentially grown up together from playing in the Summer League together ahead of their first season in the NBA and going through the ups and downs that most rookies experience. Now, they're set to lead Orlando in the NBA 2K25 Summer League in Las Vegas, which begins on Friday.

With the time they've spent together in their first season and this summer, Black has thoroughly impressed Howard with his growth on both ends of the floor.

"This has probably been the best I've seen AB from an all-around standpoint," Howard said on Monday. "Defense comes naturally to him. On offense, I think it personally comes naturally now [for him]. Just creating his own shot, getting to the lane, running in transition [and] leading the offense, he's been really good at that."

Black and Howard's attachment at the hip has continued this summer, as they've spent much of the offseason in preparation for the Summer League and their second season.

"The most fun thing I did this summer was train with AB every day," Howard said. We were in here for a month-and-a-half straight day-in and -day-out just working out."

Black, 20, is looking to improve on an up-and-down rookie season where he appeared in 69 games, 33 of which he started. Black averaged just 4.6 points and 1.3 assists per game, though, he shot a promising 39.3 percent on his 3-point attempts.

Being more assertive and getting to the paint on offense has been among the focal points for the 6-foot-7 guard as he seeks to earn a consistent role in his second season.

"More aggression," Black said of what he's improved on since his rookie season. "Getting to the paint, making plays and on the other side of the ball, taking pride in defense and doing the small stuff to help the team."

Orlando kicks off its NBA 2K25 Summer League schedule in Las Vegas when it faces the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at 4 p.m. ET at the Pavilion.

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Nathaniel Marrero