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2021 NBA Draft grades: Orlando Magic select Jalen Suggs with No. 5 pick

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The Orlando Magic have selected Jalen Suggs No. 5 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Gonzaga guard very nearly led the Bulldogs to a national championship last season, ultimately falling short in the title game after an undefeated regular season. Suggs scored 22 points in that loss, and he averaged 14.4 of them for the season along with 4.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. Now, he’ll join a Magic team that has a long way to go before it can compete at the level Gonzaga did last season. 

Orlando traded Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier at the deadline last season to kick off what should be a lengthy rebuild. For years, the Magic have struggled to find a lead ball-handler for its roster full of athletes, but the Raptors stunned the basketball world by selecting Scottie Barnes No. 4 overall. That allowed Suggs to fall to No. 5, right into Orlando’s lap. 

Gary Parrish’s grade: A+

Here’s what CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish had to say about Suggs as he graded each team’s pick in the NBA Draft:

When Jalen Suggs is available at 5, you take him at 5. We talk a lot about how he was a high school quarterback, and I think that helps him see and make passes that other point guards can’t make. He also has incredible athleticism and can guard and run fast breaks. He’s a tremendous two-way player, and if he figures out his jumper, he’s going to be tremendous.

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Suggs is one of the most well-rounded prospects in this class. He projects as an elite defensive guard that shoots well and should be a productive playmaker in the NBA. The Magic still have some work to do to make the rest of the roster work around him. Markelle Fultz signed a four-year contract extension before last season, and he will return from a torn ACL next season. Cole Anthony flashed brilliance as a rookie as well last season, so the Magic will have to mix and match their young guards to see who fits together, but for a team that for years had no talent in the backcourt, this is a good problem to have. 

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Suggs is a steal at No. 5 overall, and he proved that at the collegiate level last season. He is a winner, someone who makes his teammates better and steps up when it counts. He made one of the most impressive shots in NCAA history to send Gonzaga to the championship game last season. Now, the Magic hope he can take them one step further and one day win it all.


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