It is no surprise that many basketball analysts and experts predict the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft to produce one of the deepest draft classes in NBA history, as the year may have generational talents that have showcased their skills through collegiate basketball and foreign basketball leagues around the world. While many potential draftees have yet to declare their intention for the NBA Draft, analysts have already come up with different lists on who will be chosen for the top 5 draft picks. Most people say that Cade Cunningham, an amazing player that has recently finished his first season in Oklahoma State, would be the first pick. However, there are also other players that some experts have predicted to be chosen as the number one pick, and two of these players are Jalen Green from the NBA G League Ignite team and Jalen Suggs from Gonzaga University.
Even before his crazy buzzer-beater versus UCLA, which pushed Gonzaga to an NCAA Finals match against Baylor, Jalen Suggs has already been projected to be a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft. However, because of his heroics, his leadership, and his elevating set of skills that he has shown in the NCAA, many people have already predicted that Suggs would be the number one pick. Interestingly, sports betting experts that have created their own NBA betting guide have already encouraged many bettors to bet on Suggs to be picked first overall. What makes these people say that Jalen Suggs could be the top 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft? Let us find out as we take a look at Suggs’ skills and advantages over other potential draftees.
Suggs’ Unmatched Playmaking Skills
Compared to other potential top 5 draftees, Jalen Suggs is considered to be the best at playmaking. When you compare Cade Cunningham and Jalen Suggs’ assists per game, you will see that Suggs has one assist more than Cunningham. Although both of their average assists per game are relatively close, what makes Suggs different is that he has been the primary ball-handler for his team while Cunningham has been the primary scorer.
Cade Cunningham, who has been reported by CBS Sports to have already entered the 2021 NBA Draft, is said to be more “NBA-ready” because of his athleticism and physique, and these traits are what most basketball teams are looking for in their draftees. But, if the team that will get the first overall pick of the draft, which is likely to be Minnesota, would want to get a ball-handler with superior playmaking skills, then they should pick Jalen Suggs.
The Defensive Prowess of Suggs
While only being 6 feet and 4 inches in height, Jalen Suggs doesn’t struggle on defense. In fact, Suggs is considered as one of the only few potential draftees to have excellent defensive skills that complement their amazing offense. Because of Suggs’ defensive prowess, he is effective on both ends of the floor, as he will be able to guard the best point guard or shooting guard on the opposing team while also giving that player trouble for having great ball-handling skills.
According to ClutchPoints, Jalen Suggs is a very versatile player, as he will be able to do his best whether he would be focused on offense or defense. Unfortunately, because of his prevalent height disadvantage among potential draftees, Suggs would struggle in defending all positions on the court, so he is only effective in guarding backcourt players.
Maturity and Leadership of Jalen Suggs
Through Jalen Suggs’s leadership, which is apparent during the 2021 NCAA March Madness run of Gonzaga University, his team was able to reach the Finals. Despite being a first-year player, Suggs has shown his teammates that he already has the maturity to lead a team to victory, a trait that could translate very well in the NBA. His undeniable leadership shows that Suggs is willing to give his all for every game that Gonzaga plays, and this infectious dedication to the sports allowed his teammates to flourish and also be inspired to play more.
Suggs has also shown that he is unwilling to give up in any play despite being outmatched on several occasions. This perseverance could be the reason why he chose to take the unbelievable last shot in their Final Four match against UCLA, as he believed that his team could already finish the game without going to overtime. If an NBA team wants a dedicated point guard that will inspire his teammates to do their best in every single game, then they wouldn’t regret choosing Jalen Suggs.
Though Jalen Suggs has fierce competition for the number one pick, it wouldn’t be shocking if he gets to be the first one called on stage during the 2021 NBA Draft. The odds are against Suggs, as many analysts say that Cade Cunningham is a much better player than him, but from what we know of Suggs’ hustle and spirit, he will do his best to prove the doubters wrong, even if he is picked after Cunningham.