Jalen Suggs helped lead the Gonzaga Bulldogs to an undefeated regular season and an appearance in the national title game of the 2021 NCAA men's tournament, and he may have played his way into No. 1 overall pick status while doing so.
Jordan Schultz of ESPN spoke to an NBA general manager who said he would at least consider taking Suggs with the top pick.
"It's because Suggs possesses a rare combination of special tools: Elite playmaking, lockdown defending and an overall competitiveness that helps transform an entire team’s DNA," Schultz wrote.
It's hard to argue with what Suggs did in his first and perhaps only year at Gonzaga.
The consensus All-American, WCC Rookie of the Year and WCC tournament MVP averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from three-point range.
His ability to defend the opponent's best playmaker while either scoring or facilitating on the other end stands out, and he certainly proved he can perform in pressure-packed moments when leading the Bulldogs in the Big Dance and drilling a buzzer-beater in overtime to win a Final Four game over UCLA.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked Suggs as the No. 2 overall player on his latest big board, behind only Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham.
"Suggs was the talk of March Madness after his clutch play and buzzer-beater against UCLA, which highlighted the 'it factor' we've talked about all season," Wasserman wrote. "He impacts winning and possesses the type of maturity, leadership and professionalism NBA teams want in a lead guard."
Cunningham has been the presumed No. 1 overall pick throughout the season and surely did nothing to dissuade that line of thinking as the Big 12 Player of the Year and a consensus All-American.
Yet it seems as if Suggs did enough to at least drive one general manager to consider taking him with the top pick instead.