With the NCAA season wrapped up, and the Detroit Pistons season winding down, this year’s draft is slowly getting closer, bringing another set of tantalizing prospects, and hopes that the Pistons can finally receive a top three to five lottery pick, and use it to select a possible franchise cornerstone.
This year, Jalen Suggs and Gonzaga took the NCAA by storm, going undefeated en route to an NCAA Championship appearance, and shocking the rest of the college basketball world.
At the center of their highly efficient offense was Suggs, posting averages of 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, while shooting 50.3 percent, and also hitting the shot of the tournament against UCLA, a three at the buzzer that sent Gonzaga to the championship game.
Suggs showed poise beyond his years and his value goes well beyond the statistics.
Detroit Pistons draft picks: Jalen Suggs is ready to lead
The numbers, however, only represent a mere portion of what made Suggs so impressive throughout the season. At 6-4, 205 pounds, and with tons of athleticism, Suggs consistently thrived in both the half-court setting, and in transition, creating shots for himself by changing speeds and through the pick and roll, while setting others up as well by forcing defenses to collapse with his drives.
Gonzaga is well-known for running a disciplined, refined offense that leads to quality shot attempts within every possession, and Suggs was able to seamlessly create, whether as a floor general (sixteen games with five or more assists), or a high-volume scorer (27 points against top-ten tanked Iowa, 24 points against top-fifteen ranked Kansas), throughout the entire season.
While it’s always impressive to see five-star players come in and capitalize on the expectations placed upon them, it’s rare to see a freshman come in and conduct an offense with poise beyond his years, filled with upperclassmen, and in an offense that’s predicated upon everyone contributing, rather than just one or two guys carrying the bulk of the offense.
Most importantly, after this season, Suggs solidified himself as a bonafide winner. After dominating as a two-sport star in high school, it only took Suggs one year to prove himself on college basketball’s biggest stage.
There may not be a team in more need of a winning culture than the Detroit Pistons, and beyond the high basketball IQ, immense toughness, and well-rounded skill set, Suggs will bring a winner’s mentality to an organization that is still searching for a cornerstone to guide them into the next decade.