Even before entering college, Gonzaga Bulldogs star Jalen Suggs has already been ranked as one of the top prospects in the upcoming NBA draft class of 2021. The 6-foot-4 guard further established that by leading the Bulldogs to an undefeated regular season. Now, the legend of Suggs grew even further after he banked home an insane game-winning three-pointer in an epic Final Four showdown against the UCLA Bruins to propel Gonzaga into the National Championship game.
Possessing a dynamic offensive game, the Bulldogs stud has a quick first step and can be a threat to score from inside and out. His excellent vision and high basketball IQ also makes him an elite playmaker. Several teams will definitely salivate at the chance of drafting Suggs and he would be a seamless fit on any roster with the way could play both guard positions in the next level.
With that, here are five teams that should select Jalen Suggs in the 2021 NBA draft:
Golden State Warriors
So let’s just get this out of the way. I’m putting on my Warriors fan hat first. As a Dubs fan, I want to see Jalen Suggs running with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the Golden State backcourt. I’ve been imagining this scenario ever since I watched his highlight reel even prior to the start of his college career and that hasn’t wavered with the way he has led Gonzaga this season. His epic game-winner just made me want it even more.
Getting the chance to pick Suggs, however, highly depends on where the Minnesota Timberwolves draft pick falls in the lottery. Should that pick land within the top-3, it conveys to the Timberwolves and they instead will get Minny’s 2022 pick.
Now, biases aside, should the stars align and Suggs somehow falls into their laps, the Gonzaga standout likely wouldn’t get as sizable a role in Golden State as he would get with other teams for his first few seasons at least. With Stephen Curry and the returning Klay Thompson manning the backcourt, he’ll surely play off the bench. Still, he could still get a lot of run with the Dubs easing Thompson back, especially coming off two very serious injuries. But as the Splash Brothers get older, the Warriors could eventually hand the keys over to Suggs as their next franchise star.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder loaded up the gas tank in the 2020 off-season when they traded away Chris Paul and Steven Adams, and let Danilo Gallinari walk in free agency. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has filled up their cupboard with a load of draft picks over the next decade. With one of the worst records in the West, there is a high chance that they will get an opportunity to select Suggs in the upcoming draft.
Oklahoma City holds their own first round pick, so they won’t have any trouble of landing high in the lottery with their current standing in the 2020-21 NBA season. They have already shut down Al Horford for the rest of the season and star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is projected to be sidelined until mid-April, which should further send them down in the league standings.
Should the Gonzaga stud land in OKC, Jalen Suggs would be an ideal fit in the back court with Gilgeous-Alexander. The two combo guards would be a deadly duo for the Thunder for many years to come. They can play both guard positions and can score from anywhere on the floor.
The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the worst record in the NBA. However, the Timberwolves don’t have much control of whether they will even have a pick in this upcoming loaded draft. As mentioned earlier, Minnesota will only retain their 2021 draft pick should it fall in the top-3. Otherwise, the pick goes to Golden State.
Minnesota acquired D’Angelo Russell in last season’s trade deadline, but he hasn’t quite panned out for them due to injuries. There are reports that the Timberwolves may be prepared to split up the duo of Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns and hit the reset button by building around the 2020 no. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards. With his showing in the NCAA tournament, perhaps Suggs could be the player they consider taking should they land one of the top three picks in the draft.
Timberwolves fans may be salivating at the idea of having Jalen Suggs running with Edwards as their back court of the future. Perhaps those two studs could finally end this era of mediocrity in Minnesota.
The Houston Rockets went into a free fall in the Western Conference standings when they lost 20 games in a row from February to March. The rebuild is in full swing in Houston after they finally parted ways with franchise superstar James Harden. Perhaps Suggs could be the next man to run H-Town.
However, like Minnesota, it isn’t a certainty if Houston will have a pick in the 2021 draft. Former GM Daryl Morey included a top-4 protected pick swap for the 2021 draft in the Russell Westbrook trade. That means they’ll need to land a top-4 selection to retain their pick.
If the lottery balls fall in Houston’s favor and they take their chance on Jalen Suggs, the Rockets would immediately hand over the keys to the dynamic combo guard the second he steps foot at Toyota Center. Yes, veteran guard John Wall is still there, but it’s unlikely that the Rockets hold on to him for much longer. Suggs would get all the opportunities to run wild in Houston and should establish a promising pairing with Kevin Porter Jr. in the back court. In addition, Suggs could also be a good complement to Christian Wood.
The Orlando Magic blew up their squad during this year’s trade deadline when they dealt away Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier. By hitting the reset button, the Magic could bottom out the rest of the season and hit the jackpot by selecting Jalen Suggs in the high lottery.
Orlando has their own 1st round draft pick in the upcoming draft and could potentially have another one should the Chicago Bulls pick (which they acquired from the Vucevic deal) fall outside the top-4. Nevertheless, the Magic, which currently holds the 5th worst record in the NBA, will bank on their own pick if they want to select a franchise-altering star in this loaded draft. With that, there’s a high chance that Suggs eventually falls into their laps.
Without a clear franchise star, the Magic could go into any direction they want and should consider getting the Gonzaga standout if he’s there for the taking. His ability to play both guard positions should make him an interchangeable fit in the back court alongside Markelle Fultz, who unfortunately suffered a torn ACL this season.