The Cleveland Cavaliers once again have been blessed by the lottery gods. The Cavs have the third pick in the 2021 NBA draft, which marks the fourth time in the last five years they have a pick in the top 10. Give or take two to three seasons, the Wine and Gold should return to playoff contention once again. But first, they need to pick the best player available at the third spot. And not only that, the prospect has to fit like a glove into their current group.
Among all the top players, Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs might be the one who can jumpstart the Cavaliers’ rebuilding process. With that said, let’s walk through the three reasons why Jalen Suggs would be a perfect fit for the Cavs in 2021 NBA Draft.
Cavs reasons for Jalen Suggs:
The Classical Point Guard With Greater Upside
Cavs fans might find it foolish if they welcome another point guard in the fold. They seem to be fully loaded in that spot with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. Between the two, Garland seems to be more of the playmaker while Sexton is the offensive gunner. Rumors reveal that the Wine and Gold are looking to part ways with Sexton, especially since he’s due a massive contract. The organization will be in a tough dilemma as Jarrett Allen, too, will likely command a hefty deal as well.
The Cavs should rethink their approach with regard to Sexton and Garland with Suggs on the horizon. There’s a good number of analysts impressed with Suggs’ playmaking and decision-making. It would be understandable to say that Garland has the advantage over this given his NBA experience. But the fact is Suggs has more upside than Garland. Some scouts have gone on to say that he may be the smartest playmaker in this batch. He averaged 4.5 assists last season which is not quite high. However, this is the direct cause of Gonzaga’s offense which had Drew Timme in the post. If presented more opportunities, Suggs’ assists per game will rise could fall within the 6-8 range in his first two years in the NBA.
This makes Suggs the ideal long-term guard for the Cavs. The organization is clearly still in the rebuilding stage. They need a player like Suggs who already has an NBA-ready basketball mind. He would come in at the right time, too.
It’s clear that the Cavs are bent on making Allen the front and center of their franchise. Suggs would be the perfect pick-and-roll partner with Allen and could also be a running partner with Sexton.
Above-Average Defensive Abilities
Suggs’s playmaking skills are further compounded by his defensive abilities. He averaged 1.9 steals per game last season which reveals quite a lot about knowledge about his foes’ playbook, as well as his timing. After snagging the ball, Suggs does not hesitate to run a fast break for a quick basket which makes him a legitimate two-way threat. Suggs is just an inherently speedy guard. Staying in front of his man won’t be a problem for the Cavs — Suggs has that lateral quickness built in him. Also, Suggs’ 6-foot-4, 205-lb frame (which is pretty bulky for a guard even for today’s standards), won’t make much of a liability against bigger guards. He can even comfortably guard shooting guards 2-3 inches bigger than him.
In addition, scouts have been impressed with his off-ball defense — which again shows off his basketball knowledge and attention to detail, which would be a hit with the Cavs. He has a good eye for spotting lazy passes and quickly capitalizes on it. Clips also reveal that he’s willing to get dirty and fight through screens — a fundamental concept on defense which strangely, not all prospects practice. Suggs is also an excellent help-defender in the post. He has a good read of when exactly to go for the steal (when the big man goes for the hop step then into a hook shot).
Suggs’ aforementioned qualities can be easily quantified through numbers. Even looking at his game film would reveal the other intangibles of his game. Another intangible part of his game that people won’t necessarily see is his leadership. He was the leader of the Gonzaga squad which won the title. Note that he was a freshman leading players older than him. And in several of his pre-draft interviews, Suggs said that he’s ready to take on a similar role. These are strong words for an incoming rookie. The Cavs should not take this as a guard who’s full of himself. Rather, they should see it as a young gun with the right amount of confidence and poise.