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NBA Draft Scouting: Jalen Suggs

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Suggs led the way for Gonzaga last season

Baylor v Gonzaga Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images


Weight - 6’5

Height - 205 lb

Wingspan - 6’5

Over the last five years, Coach Mark Few has assembled a powerhouse in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga has developed into being an incredibly strong, elite program and has now started to add 5-Star bluechip prospects into Coach Few’s program. Jalen Suggs committed to Gonzaga and ended up driving the team to the NCAA Tournament Final.

Suggs’ feel for the game is evident; he is a smooth, patient playmaker who knows how to run the offense. Jalen is a well-rounded, big point guard who has very few flaws and would be a nice fit next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Thunder were elite offensively in the 2019-20 season because every single player in the ‘Three Amigos’ lineup could pass. The ball movement was incisive and defenses could not deal with having to make three or four rotations on a single possession.

An abundance of playmaking in a five man unit not only provided creativity for the Thunder, Oklahoma City were able to control the game more effectively by constantly creating and making good shots on offense. By forcing the opposing team to take the ball out of the basket, the Thunder were able to prevent easy transition scores. Taking Suggs in the Draft will allow the Thunder to run lineups with multiple playmakers.

From what I have read, Jalen Suggs is projected to go between the second pick and the fourth pick. Suggs is a step lower than Cade Cunningham but is a level higher than Jonathan Kuminga. Suggs slots into the same tier that Evan Mobley and Jalen Green currently sit in.

Detroit, Orlando and Oklahoma City all have a need for perimeter creation. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was excellent this season but there were times when the offense was much too dependent on him. The Thunder would benefit from having another creator who can complement SGA.

Detroit will consider Suggs seriously as they currently do not have an option at point guard who can raise the ceiling of the team. Killian Hayes and Saben Lee both look to be fine young players but neither really seem to be that long-term, All-Star option.

From what the Magic fan said in the comment section of the Jalen Green scouting report, I would not expect Orlando to pass up Suggs either. The Thunder will get one of Mobley, Suggs and Green but which one is dependent on Presti’s priorities.

Suggs’ finest game of the season came against UCLA in the Final Four of March Madness. March Madness is a special kind of pressure; single-elimination tournaments places emphasis on every single shot, pass and turnover. Suggs had 16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals as he led Gonzaga to the Final.

For the season, Jalen Suggs averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. His raw numbers are relatively unimpressive compared to his contemporaries but it is important to consider context. Suggs was the third option on his team and primarily filled the role of floor general. Drew Timme and Cory Kispert often carried the scoring load for Gonzaga.

His advanced numbers are more representative of his impact on the game. Jalen’s true-shooting percentage was 59.5% for the season and his BPM stood at +9.4. These numbers identify Suggs’ efficient scoring and effect on his team.

Suggs’ is an excellent playmaker who is able to dissect defenses in the half-court. Jalen has already worked out how to create gaps by using acceleration and deceleration. Suggs will use a turn of pace to gain separation and get himself into positions where he can create. Suggs is more than capable at using his body control to finish around the rim.

Moreover, Suggs recognises the threat that he presents as a scorer and leverages this ability to create for his teammates. Whenever he draws two defenders, Suggs will find the passing angle and set his teammate up for a good look.

His playmaking is very good and the only real thing that he needs to work on is turnovers. Jalen Suggs can be loose with possession of the ball on offense. I personally believe that there are good turnovers and bad turnovers. Good turnovers occur when the shot creator is trying to create for his teammates and do something special. Bad turnovers are usually errant, careless passes. Providing that Suggs does his job as a shot creator effectively and does not make any silly mistakes, I am fine with the turnovers.

Suggs is also a competent scorer off the ball; Gonzaga frequently ran hand-off actions to get Suggs open for easy outside shots. Suggs usually received the pass from Drew Timme and went straight into his jumper. He was relatively efficient on his 3-point attempts (33.7%) and there is enough film to suggest that Suggs can become above league average as a marksman.

Suggs’ shooting motion is honestly pretty solid; he has a one motion shooting form that is fast and repeatable. However, I feel like that his base needs to be a little wider for him to be an efficient shooter from deep. At the moment, Jalen’s base is narrow which can reduce his balance when he is shooting the ball.

His scoring off the dribble is smooth and lacks any unnecessary motion. Suggs seems to recognise that his size is unusual at the point guard position and uses his size to good effect. Jalen’s long strides allow him to walk away from the defense and create a good look at the rim.

His finishing has improved a fair bit over his time at Gonzaga; Suggs has added a floater to his game which will allow him to finish over taller, athletic centers. Centers such as Rudy Gobert and Bam Adebayo are elite at protecting the rim and nullifying any offense within three feet. Suggs having a floater provides him with another tool against top-level defensive players.

As players go, I really like Jalen Suggs. He is a savvy, high-IQ point guard who can bring a lot of value to the Thunder. Suggs’ ability to play on and off the ball effectively should mean that he meshes nicely with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Thunder do not have a ton of playmaking outside of Shai and it makes a ton of sense to add a shot creator who can run the offense.