Orlando Magic’s shooting guards have all the features the league wants

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Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic, Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler made Jalen Suggs’ life miserable as the Orlando Magic struggled with turnovers in a loss to the Miami Heat. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /


Defense, believe it or not, might actually be the biggest strength of the Orlando Magic shooting guard core.

Jalen Suggs looks like he could be a future All-NBA defensive player if he keeps up what he is doing.

For all rookies who were the primary defender for at least 200 shots, Suggs had the third-best defensive field goal percentage of 43.5-percent, behind only teammate Franz Wagner and Davion Mitchell.

He also was great at guarding some of the best players in the league. When Suggs was the primary defender, Cade Cunningham shot 0 for 7, James Harden shot 0 for 6, D’Angelo Russell and RJ Barrett went 1 for 5, LaMelo Ball shot 3 for 9 and Cleveland Cavaliers all-star Darius Garland shot 3 for 10.

It is so important for a team to have a primary guard defender who can defend the other team’s best guards. Guards have been taking over the league since the 2010s so having someone to guard the other teams best guards is a must have.

He led the Magic with 2.5 pass deflections per game and had 119 total. That is why he averaged 1.2 steals per game this year. Along with his deflections and steals, he recovered 33 50/50 balls and drew eight charges.

Suggs’ innate ability to get in the passing lanes and pickpocket defenders opens up the ability for him to get out and run in transition like he loves to do, and he’s the most efficient at. In fact a majority of Suggs transition points came after one of his steals.

He gives a tremendous effort on the defensive end. Suggs averaged 3.6 rebounds per game which is really good for a guard of his size.

The Magic had 107.8 defensive rating when Suggs was on the floor and 112.8 when he was off, pointing to his positive impact.

Suggs is not the only defensive beast of the Magic shooting guards.

R.J. Hampton has shown signs of being a capable defender. And this is something the team has tried to emphasize with him.

Hampton’s athleticism, 6-foot-6 frame with a 6-foot-7 wing span, and ability to stay in front of defenders makes him a matchup nightmare on the defensive end. A lot of teams’ opposing players will not want to see him in front of them. Especially with fresh legs off the bench he can guard and starting guard or wing necessary.

Gary Harris as well can come in and shake things up defensively. Harris has long had a strong defensive reputation and is just generally solid guarding wing players.

He had multiple steals in 16 of his 61 games this season and for every turnover he had he had a steal to make up for it. He is the most experienced defender and can be a defensive anchor off the bench when needed.

Hampton and Harris can be the much needed defensive pressure off the bench. When the bench unit comes in they can guard the other teams’ best bench scorer, or even be inserted into a defensive line-up in late-game situations.