Why the Houston Rockets should select Jalen Suggs in the NBA Draft reason #2: Playmaking
For the two players currently leading Jalen Suggs in the race for the Rockets’ selection the conversation almost always drifts in one direction. When it comes to Evan Mobley you hear about his two-way potential, and with Jalen Green, it’s all about his potential to be an unstoppable scorer.
When you get deeper in those two draft profiles you begin to see things like, “developing playmaker,” “has potential to facilitate,” and a lot more should have, would have, and could have in regards to their playmaking. With Jalen Suggs, there is no doubt among draft experts that he will be an excellent playmaker at the NBA level.
Passing has long been one of the most undervalued skills in basketball. Great passers not only create easy looks for teammates, but their mere presence also keeps everyone engaged. It’s a lot easier to make hard cuts to the basket when you know your off-ball work won’t be ignored.
Suggs finished third in the WCC in assists per game with 4.5, and while that doesn’t seem like a robust figure, the NCAA leader in assists per game was only 8.4. Factor in that Gonzaga had a talented veteran roster and a free-flowing offense that constantly shared the ball and suddenly Suggs passing numbers look a whole lot better.
In the NBA, as a lead ball-handler in the spread pick and roll it wouldn’t be a shock for Suggs to average eight-plus assists a game as a rookie. The Rockets were one of the worst offenses in the league. Unless James Harden suddenly wants back, no one player is going to make their offense elite.
The Rockets need everyone on the roster to improve on the offensive end and that’s the beauty of great passers. Suggs won’t come in and average 20 points a game, but if he averages 16, and everyone around him sees their scoring improve then the team as a whole will be much better off.