Jalen Suggs may have solidified his place as a top selection.
The Gonzaga freshman guard was already receiving consideration as a top-five pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Then he helped lead his team on an impressive run to the NCAA championship game, including a miraculous and clutch game-winning buzzer-beater in the Final Four.
INSTANT CLASSIC 🥶@ZagMBB #FinalFour pic.twitter.com/THDIWRKwdS- NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 4, 2021
Averaging 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game, the 19-year-old flashed the poise, leadership and skillset to make an immediate impact in the NBA.
But what would the 6-foot-4, 205-pound guard bring to the team that selects him?
The first adjective that can be used to describe Suggs is unselfish. He is a true floor general who makes everyone around him better, always looking to make the extra pass or correct read for the benefit of his team and teammates.
The fact that he was a star quarterback in high school with a number of high-major D-I offers only further helps explain the type of leadership qualities that Suggs possesses.
He is an elite passer and playmaker - in the halfcourt and especially in transition. He's always looking to push the pace and does so effectively.
He's a great decision maker - averaging fewer than three turnovers per game in his lone season at Gonzaga despite a high usage rate - and he's more than capable of making advanced passes in pick-and-rolls or drive-and-kick situations.
Suggs is at his best when he gets downhill, using his blend of speed and athleticism to get all the way to the rim and score with ease. He's a good ball-handler and change-of-pace dribbler with an explosive first step, pairing well with his ability to finish strong around the basket with both hands. Suggs is an athletic finisher with great body control who puts pressure on the rim with powerful drives, inviting and welcoming contact.
He's a solid - but not yet knockdown - shooter who doesn't lack confidence in his jumper with smooth mechanics that should bode well for his development in that area. He had some experience playing off-ball this past season where he showcased a future as a combo guard, active as a cutter while also navigating around screens to get open catch-and-shoot looks.
Defensively, his competitive edge and demeanour shine through with a willingness to take on any assignment. He's a tough on-ball defender with quick feet and active hands and an intelligent off-ball defender with strong anticipation skills.
As I mentioned above, Suggs could become a more consistent shooter, both off the dribble and catch-and-shoot.
Point guard is definitely his primary position but he has the potential to succeed as a combo guard in the NBA, which will hinge on his ability to solidify his jumper from midrange and 3-point range.
He could also improve as a shot creator if he is going to be a lead scoring option.
His quickness, speed and size helped him create separation in college but against faster, stronger defenders in the NBA, he may have to get more creative to score consistently at the next level. While that also includes pull-up shots off the bounce, more specifically speaking, when attacking the basket.
Suggs would benefit from polishing a variety of floaters - which he has already begun to develop - and finishes at the rim, as opposed to simply relying on his athleticism.
Projected NBA Draft Position: Top five pick
Projected NBA Role: Franchise-floor general
Shades of: John Wall, Dejounte Murray, Lonzo Ball
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.