Jalen Suggs is one of the best point guards in the 2021 NBA Draft class and perhaps the most well-rounded player overall.
While he doesn’t stand out as a leader in one specific category, he performs well in most areas without any major weaknesses. Suggs’ versatility, athleticism and basketball IQ will likely help him shine at the next level of his basketball career. His skills should translate nicely and allow him to easily get into an NBA rotation.
The projected top-five pick played and started in 30 games through his freshman season with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. He helped the Zags make history while almost finishing with a perfect record, with the only blemish being their loss to Baylor in the NCAA Championship game. Suggs, the West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year, shot at 50.3% from the field and averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game throughout the season.
One of his most memorable moments was the buzzer-beater three-pointer he made against the UCLA Bruins in the national semifinal. That game ended up winning Best Game at the ESPY Awards.
Suggs can contribute on both sides of the floor. He has good speed and great anticipation skills that allow him to be successful on defense. The point guard’s high basketball IQ helps him take good shots and create plays.
He shot above 50% from the field last season and showed he can easily get to the rim, but Suggs is not just a scorer. The former football player (a highly-ranked quarterback in high school) is a good ball handler, talented passer and at 6’4, he is also a solid rebounder. His 5.3 rebounds per game were third best last season on the Gonzaga roster, behind redshirt junior 6’5 guard Joel Ayayi and 6’10 sophomore forward Drew Timme.
Personality-wise, Suggs is tough and competitive while also playing unselfishly. Even at 20 years old, he has shown he can be a leader.
Jalen Suggs w/ 18, 10 & 8 tonight. Was in command on both sides of the floor. His passing in transition especially stood out tonight. Here's a cut-up of a couple of his 8 assists. pic.twitter.com/JhbdEV1Htf— Draft Dummies (@DraftDummies) March 31, 2021
There is not really a weakness that stands out, but Suggs could improve his three-point shooting. He went 35-of-104 (33.7%) from beyond the arc this past season. Suggs has shown he can make the shots, as seen during his best three-point shooting game against Iowa in December, when he made seven threes in 10 attempts. The most he missed in a game was five, when he went 1-of-6 against Oklahoma in March.
Upside Player Comp:
A couple analysts, including ESPN’s Seth Greenberg, have compared Suggs to Jason Kidd.
Kidd played in the NBA from 1994-2013 and is now the head coach for the Dallas Mavericks. He could score, pass and rebound, and currently ranks fourth all-time in the NBA for triple-doubles with a career total of 107 in the regular season. Suggs did not record a triple double last season, but he was close a few times.
“Size, feel, athleticism, vision. He’s got that ‘it’ factor. He makes the game easier for others,” Greenberg said about Suggs last December on SportsCenter.
Every shot, assist, rebound, & turnover from @ZagMBB guard Jalen Suggs' (@JalenSuggs2020) 3-30-21 game against USC https://t.co/GbhVQ6PihN— The Scouting Rapport (@ScoutingRapport) March 31, 2021
Really great all-around game from Suggs tonight, a near triple double with 18 pts, 10 Reb, & 8 Ast, including this bounce pass in transition pic.twitter.com/L1BWDokMv4
Since Cade Cunningham is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick, Suggs is predicted to be selected anywhere between second and fourth overall in most mock drafts.
As a two-way player, Suggs could be a valuable addition to a lot of rosters. One of the teams that would offer a perfect fit due to his abilities and style of play is Toronto. There is also a decent possibility of this happening since the Raptors have the No. 4 pick.
With point guard Kyle Lowry being an unrestricted free agent, there is a chance he might not return next season. The Raptors could certainly use Suggs if they don’t keep Lowry. The former Zag would pair up nicely with Fred VanVleet. Suggs could also do well under head coach Nick Nurse, who likes to see a strong transition offense.