In this Jalen Suggs NBA Draft Profile, we delve into what makes Jalen Suggs such a special prospect. Suggs came into the season as a top-10 prospect in this year’s draft but his excellent season for Gonzaga moved him to a prospect many feel is a consensus top-three pick now. He flashed so many dimensions to his game and his outstanding NCAA Tournament performances are the big reason he was able to jump so many talented players, some of which didn’t receive the exposure in the G League that Suggs got in college. Now let’s jump into Suggs strengths and weaknesses.
Suggs has outstanding vision and sees passes most guards don’t. He’s someone who routinely looks ahead in transition and when not passing ahead finds his teammates constantly, often with flashy passes. His full-court bounce pass at the beginning of the year along with the one he threw against UCLA in the Final Four are two of the best passes anyone in college basketball threw all year.
Jalen Suggs making BIG plays ? pic.twitter.com/aCqsPf59mx
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) April 4, 2021
Suggs unselfishness is a big reason why he excels as a playmaker. He’s not wired to look to score, he’s always looking to make the right play whether scoring or setting someone up. He only possessed a 1.55 assist to turnover ratio but most of that can be pointed to a touch of aggressiveness at times as a true freshman. With time I do think he should be able to clean that up although I don’t ever expect him to be a Monte Morris type with the ball.
In the clip just above you may notice that the sequence begins with an excellent weakside help block. Suggs is an excellent defender when engaged, but gets lazy at times. Which may have more to do with competition level at times versus the player himself. When he’s engaged though his lateral quickness is something special and the length and athleticism can swallow up other guards. He hasn’t even filled out yet, although he is a fairly strong guard and his football background almost assuredly is the reason for that. The fun part here is that he’s already so advanced while still having so much room for growth in this aspect of his game.
Weakness: Shooting Consistency
Jalen Suggs wasn’t a bad shooter this year by any means and for most of the year actually surprised with his accuracy. He eventually settled in as someone who was respected as a shooter but not someone to be feared, especially from deep. He’s shown an ability to shoot off the catch and dribble, he even knocked down seven threes against Iowa early in the year. He probably doesn’t develop into a top shooter but someone who can live up above 36-37% from three consistently. That would force defenders out to the perimeter and will be crucial to his ability to get into the lane. He’s got good mechanics right now and it’s only a matter of continuing to improve the percentage. As Suggs continues to be a player who needs to be respected as a shooter, it will only serve him well as someone who is so dangerous as a playmaker and slasher.
NBA Comparison: Jrue Holiday
With most of these NBA comparisons, it’s a comparison of skillset and at the utmost ceiling, the prospective player could reach if they hit their limit. With this one, Suggs could possibly be better than Jrue just based on having slightly better physical gifts and a better sense of aggressiveness. Suggs is a more aggressive offensive player and is consistently looking to make plays where Holiday can be content to differ. Defensively Jrue is one of the best guard defenders in the league and Suggs has some room to grow although the tools are certainly there. Suggs displayed high-level, two-way player skills in his lone season at Gonzaga and with Jrue, we’re probably looking at the premier two-way point guard in the league. At his apex, I do think there is a good shot were looking at Suggs being a better player with much better offense but defense that keeps up with Holiday.