Jalen Suggs
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Jalen Suggs is coming off a great freshman season with Gonzaga that saw the Bulldogs make it all the way to the NCAA Tournament championship game and Suggs earning a spot on the All-Tournament team. With Suggs’ collegiate career done after one season, it’s time for him to move on and prepare for the NBA. Did Suggs have a good enough tournament run and show off enough of his skillset to solidify himself as a top 5 pick? Let’s take a look.

  • Height/Weight: 6’4″/205 lbs
  • Position: Combo Guard
  • 2020-21 Stats: 30 Games, 14.4 PPG, 4.5 APG, 5.3 REB, 50.3 FG%, 33.7 3P%, 76.1 FT%, 1.9 STL, 0.3 BLK, 2.9 TO

Strengths: Playmaking, Moving Without the Ball, Defense

An underrated part of an NBA player’s game is moving without the ball. It’s part of the reason why someone like Steph Curry is so dangerous. Curry can create great looks for himself or open playmaking opportunities without touching the ball. Suggs has that same type of skill. Beating a defender on a backdoor cut gives Suggs the option to go up with it himself, dump it to a driving big or wing for an easy lay-in, or kick it outside to the man whose defender is in help defense. His high IQ of feeling the defense and finding the right spot to be in adds to his levels as a playmaker. Suggs will always put himself or a teammate in a position to succeed.

Everyone will be talking about Suggs’ game winner, but this was by far his best series of the tournament.

Suggs’ height and agility allow him to be versatile when guarding the 1-3 spots. Averaging nearly two steals a game is no easy task. Suggs can be the pest on defense that every team desires to have. His defense is good enough to where even his shot isn’t falling, you will not be able to say Suggs did not have an impact on the game. As with most rookies, it will be tough getting used to the flow of an NBA game. But a great defender like Suggs will find themselves getting more comfortable sooner rather than later.

Weaknesses: Consistency, Frame, Creativeness Around the Rim

While it may not seem like much in ways of critiquing Jalen Suggs’ game, his lack of consistency covers almost every aspect of his offensive game. When Suggs is hot, he’s hot, but if he’s cold, then he’s really cold. Suggs can have games where he is lights out from 3, then go on stretches of games shooting less than 20% from beyond the arc. Percentage-wise, his efficiency is not overly impressive. His free throw shooting needs to get better. His three-point shooting needs to get better if he wants to be elite at the next level. Everybody knows Suggs can play basketball, but how do you know which Suggs you are getting that night?

As for his frame, as odd as it sounds to say, Suggs’ wingspan is not as impressive for his size. Suggs does well with what he has, and there isn’t really a way to fix that, so it’s more of a nitpick than anything. Suggs could also do himself some good by adding a few extra pounds of muscle this summer. He plays best when attacking the rim. Adding muscle to power through defenders will help compensate for his lack of “jelly” around the rim.

Best NBA Fit: Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets

Jalen Suggs is as well-rounded as any player in this draft. Suggs will go top 5 for sure, it’s just a matter of specific team needs. Most analysts have Cade Cunningham, whose scouting report is very impressive, going number one overall, so anyone from 2-5 will have gotten their future corner piece with Suggs.

NBA Comparison: Zach LaVine

Like LaVine, it will probably take Suggs a while to really see his true potential. Both are athletic guards who came out of college as solid playmakers and where at their best when running down hill. Suggs is a better defender than LaVine, but the career path for the two will be similar.

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