When the Orlando Magic selected Jalen Suggs out of Gonzaga with No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, expectations were high … potential star-level high for some.
However, things didn't get off to a great start during his rookie campaign. After dealing with an ankle injuries that limited him to playing in just 48 games last season, Suggs underwent surgery in May to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle.
Even before all the injury troubles, though, Suggs rookie year stats left a lot to be desired. His averages of 11.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game were respectable for a first-year player dealing with injuries, but his shooting percentages were atrocious. Suggs shot just 36.1 percent from the field, including 21.4 percent from 3-point range.
Although Suggs wasn't stellar 3-point shooter in college, he still shot much more respectable 33.7 percent from deep in 30 games with Gonzaga. He also shot 50.3 percent from the field overall. If Suggs can stay healthy during his sophomore season, that's the kind of efficiency that will be expected.
Suggs isn't the first highly-drafted NBA player to get off to a rocky start in his career, and he won't be the last either. Just this summer, we saw Oklahoma City Thunder's Chet Holmgren, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 draft, suffer a foot injury in a Pro-Am game that required season-ending surgery.
So far, Suggs' production is trending toward him being a role player rather than a star … but it's still such a small sample size. If he can stay healthy and learn from his rookie mistakes, there's still a chance that the Magic could end up with a young star trio of Paolo Banchero,
You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg
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Executive Editor for Dallas Basketball, Inside The Rockets, Inside The Spurs, All Knicks, and The Magic Insider. Founder and lead-host for the Mavs Step Back Podcast.