Jalen Suggs is one of the 2020-21 Gonzaga Bulldogs that was just one win away from an undefeated season and a national championship, and now, he finds himself an anticipated top-five pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Despite being a dual-sport athlete in high school and playing basketball and football, Suggs quickly made a name for himself in college basketball when he averaged over 14 points a game and started 30 games for 431 points as a freshman at Gonzaga. Suggs is known for his athleticism, ability to play two ways, and of course, his buzzer-beater against UCLA to send Gonzaga to the national championship.
Age: 20 years, one month and six days on draft day
Height: 6 foot 4’
Wingspan: 6 foot 5.5’
Suggs is a good size compared to other point guards in the NBA. He’s a player that may not have the best long-range shot, but he will work hard on both sides of the ball. He’s going to be the person on a team in this league that will outwork most of the players on the court, even if he doesn’t always put up the most significant numbers.
That’s not to say he can’t score, too, but where Suggs is going to shine is his ability not just to play the point but to read the game and do work defensively. Suggs has a way of reading the game that will be valuable to any team in the league. He’s got good size for a point guard and the brain to back up his play; he’s a true two-way guard.
Should Utah draft him?
Suggs is an interesting player to look at drafting for Utah. The need for a player like Suggs is dependent on the status of Mike Conley. Conley did well in his role at point guard last season, but his return to the Jazz is up in the air with him going into free agency.
Suggs could add a lot to Utah; there’s no doubt about that or his skill. But first and foremost, Utah would have to trade up to get him. Utah’s first pick isn’t until pick 30. Utah would have to trade up to a 1-4 spot, which will be tough to do without trading a significant piece of the team. It seems unlikely and not smart for Utah to do that.
If the Jazz intends to keep someone like Mike Conley, an experienced veteran on the team, trading up to get someone like Suggs doesn’t seem like the right choice in the draft. If Utah doesn’t keep Conley, and it seems likely they won’t, the need for a point guard is obvious, but getting Suggs is still going to be a large risk.
Suggs is going to be an exciting addition to have in the league, though. He’s a hardworking, talented player that has experienced the biggest moments college basketball has to offer. He’s going to be a great addition to whichever team takes him.