2021 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Jalen Suggsby Kamran Nia June 9, 2021 1 comment
Jalen Suggs is regarded as one of the best prospects in the 2021 class. The combo guard had a stellar freshman season for the Gonzaga Bulldogs and is now ready to play in the NBA. Suggs’ most notable moment from his freshman year was his half-court buzzer-beater that sent the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament Final. Suggs is a guard that thrives on both ends of the floor and provides versatility that is needed in the modern NBA. Let’s take a look at his skill set.
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Name: Jalen Suggs
Weight: 205 lbs
Prototype: Two-Way Combo Guard
Suggs is one of the best players in the draft, and his defense is a big reason why. He is best as a defender off the ball but is very successful both on and off the ball. Suggs is a very active defender off the ball and is constantly tipping or stealing passes and turning defense to offense in transition. On the ball, Suggs’ athleticism and tenacity allow him to thrive. He is great at playing physical defenders and he makes it hard for players to get by him because of it. His footwork could use some work at the next level, but there are no concerns about his defensive ability being able to translate to the NBA.
Related: Nia’s 2021 NBA Mock Draft 1.0
Perimeter Shooting (11/15)
One of the weakest areas of Suggs’ game is his ability to shoot the ball. Although he is not an elite shooter, he is a competent enough one to play in the modern NBA. Suggs shot 33.7 percent from beyond the arc in his only season at Gonzaga. He took some questionable shots that ended up as air balls or missing badly, but with improved shot selection, he should be able to knock the three-ball down more consistently at the next level.
At the basket, Suggs thrives by using his athleticism to get buckets. Since he can move quickly, Suggs is constantly looking for opportunities to blow by the defense in transition and grab easy buckets. Paired with his tremendous defense ability, Suggs provides the ability to finish in transition at the basket with high percentage looks.
Another area of Suggs’ game that is strong is creating for others. He did a great job of operating the pick-and-roll at Gonzaga with Drew Timme. Additionally, when attacking the basket, Suggs found the open man when the defense collapsed on many occasions. He is prone to turnovers as he gave up 2.9 per game in his freshman season, but overall is a good playmaker who can find his teammates often.
There are no question marks when it comes to Suggs’ athleticism. He is one of the most athletic players in the class and much of his success will be a result of it. On offense, Suggs does a great job of using his athleticism and physicality to attack the rim and score. On defense, Suggs does a great job of being active and constantly moving his feet to tip passes, get steals, or prevent baskets.
Ball Handling (5.5/10)
One of Suggs’ weakest areas is when handling the ball. He can be prone to turning the ball over and will lose control of the ball at times. He makes up for his lack of good ball-handling skills with his athleticism and tenacity, so this area should not be a big worry for NBA teams.
For a guard, Suggs is an elite rebounder. He uses his high-level athleticism to pick up boards over taller players. At Gonzaga, he averaged 5.2 rebounds per game and should be able to do the same in the NBA.
Suggs suffered an ankle injury against West Virginia and missed a couple of games due to it, but aside from that, his injury sheet has been clean so far.
Bonus: Potential (+4.75/5)
He has tons of potential. Suggs is an athletic guard with great defensive ability that will thrive in the NBA. His only knocks are shooting and ball-handling which is why he received -0.25 for potential, but he has all of the tools to become an All-Star caliber guard in the future.
Suggs is one of the most complete players in the class and will almost certainly be a top-five pick in the upcoming draft. He is an outstanding defender and an athletic freak that thrives when driving to the basket. In the NBA, Suggs has the potential to be a generational talent, especially if he can improve his three-point shooting. Whichever team lands the two-way combo guard will be reaping the benefits for seasons to come.
Final Grade (92.5/100): Top-Five Pick
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