Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs Declares for 2021 NBA Draft with 1-of-1 NFT

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs brings the ball up the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

Jalen Suggs was one of the top freshman and overall players in men's college basketball this past season. So, it won't come as much of a surprise that he's declaring for the 2021 NBA draft.

Suggs made the announcement as part of a non-fungible token (NFT) release Monday:  

The 19-year-old averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in the 2020-21 season, helping lead Gonzaga to a 31-1 record and a trip to the NCAA tournament final. He paired with sophomore Drew Timme and senior Corey Kispert to give the Bulldogs the best Big Three in college basketball. 

He also provided the most memorable moment of the tournament with a half-court buzzer-beater against UCLA:

Given his excellent season, it was almost a foregone conclusion that he would be a one-and-done player.

In a February mock draft, ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz projected him as the No. 4 overall pick. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman had him just one pick lower to the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 5, calling him an "interchangeable backcourt piece who adds more downhill speed, plus extra playmaking and defensive pressure" if paired with a player like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Wasserman added that the 6'4", 205-pound Suggs was dangerous as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and pull-up shooter, though he also noted: "[He] lacks one elite skill or strength, which may make him tougher for teams to take in the top three. But it's hard to identify any alarming hole or concern in his scouting report."

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All in all, Suggs showed off an NBA-level game in his one season at Gonzaga and seems a lock to be a top-10 pick. He did little to hurt his draft stock this season, making the decision to turn pro a pretty easy one.