In what can’t be considered too much of a surprise, Gonzaga combo-guard Jalen Suggs has officially declared for the 2021 NBA Draft after leading his Bulldogs to the National Championship Game this past season.
The 6-foot-4 guard has been ascending the NBA Draft rankings over the past several months and is now likely going to be a top-five pick. In fact, there’s been some talk that Suggs could go first overall over the likes of better-known prospects such as Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green.
There’s some good reasons for this. Suggs’ freshman season with Gonzaga was absolutely outstanding. The Minnesota native averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals on 50% shooting from the field. He’s also already considered an elite-level defender.
While some view Jalen Suggs as a ball-dominant point guard, he can excel as a two-guard off the ball. That makes the young man an exceptional fit for many teams slated to select at the top of the 2021 NBA Draft. Below, we take a look at the four-best fits after the guard declared for the draft.
Jalen Suggs to the Houston Rockets
At this rate, the Rockets could pretty much target any position. New general manager Rafael Stone is in the initial stages of a rebuild after trading away future Hall of Famers Russell Westbrook and James Harden over the past seven months. With that said, there’s some building blocks in the frontcourt when it comes to these Rockets.
Free-agent signing Christian Wood has played stellar basketball at both the four and five. Meanwhile, rookie undrafted free agent Jae’Sean Tate looks to be an absolute steal at power forward. Adding someone of Suggs’ ilk to the mix could help Houston expedite its rebuild as the team attempts to find some type of identity moving forward.
Jalen Suggs to Orlando Magic
I absolutely love what 2020 first-round pick Cole Anthony has brought to the table for an otherwise disastrous Magic team. However, there’s a ton of work for this squad to do in order to become relevant on the broader NBA stage. Moving the likes of Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline added another layer to this. Orlando is building through Anthony, injured guard Markelle Fultz and a young wing they acquired in the Gordon trade with the Denver Nuggets, R.J. Hampton.
Initially, the Magic would not seem to be a fit with Anthony and Fultz in the mix. Unfortunately, there’s no telling how the latter is going to return after suffering a torn ACL early in the 2020-21 season. The idea here would be to team Jalen Suggs up with Anthony in the backcourt. Hampton would get a look at the three with the Magic potentially adding a big man with one of the first-round picks they acquired from the Chicago Bulls for Vucevic. It almost makes too much sense.
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Jalen Suggs to Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is playing at an MVP level. The Warriors also have Klay Thompson slated to return in time for the 2021-22 campaign after missing the past two seasons to injury. Heck, 2019 first-round pick Jordan Poole has shown out big time as a sophomore. In no way does this mean adding another perimeter option to the mix is out of the question.
Battling for a playoff spot, Golden State will own the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft should it fall outside of the top three. Right now, the chances of that happening are about 50%. The Warriors can’t pass up on the opportunity of adding a two-way guard who can play both backcourt positions and has shown lethal ability from the perimeter. He’d be a tremendous initial fit off the bench. It’s something the Warriors need — more scoring from the second unit.
Jalen Suggs to New Orleans Pelicans
Despite opting not to move Lonzo Ball ahead of the NBA trade deadline, there’s a chance that the Pelicans decide to utilize a sign-and-trade this coming summer. Ball is a restricted free agent and continues to be a questionable fit in New Orleans. Already set in the frontcourt with Brandon Ingram and instant-star Zion Williamson, New Orleans must settle its issues in the backcourt.
The problem here is that the Pelicans have been going with a two point guard look over the past two seasons. That must change in short order. Despite his smallish frame for a two-guard, Jalen Suggs would be a great fit to man that position. His elite-level passing skills coupled with solid defense would work well with Williamson and Ingram, too. This almost makes too much sense.