3 ways Jalen Suggs will improve for the Orlando Magic in 2024
The biggest concern with Jalen Suggs remains his shaky outside shooting. It might have ended up being the reason why Suggs slipped out of a surefire top-four pick to No. 5 in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Not that the Orlando Magic were complaining. Everyone still saw plenty of potential in him and what he was capable of doing.
But Suggs has struggled to find his shot. It is almost certainly the biggest weakness in his game so far in the NBA and the biggest thing holding him back in his career.
It is safe to say that if Suggs wants to push his way into the starting lineup — something fans certainly seem eager to see and something that would add another element to the starting lineup defensively especially — he is going to have to shoot a lot better.
Suggs shot 21.4 percent on 4.1 3-point attempts per game as a rookie. Last year, that number improved to 32.7 percent on 3.8 3-point attempts per game.
Fans were eager to see Suggs have a good stretch of 3-point shooting to close last season though. In 19 games after the All-Star Break, Suggs made 36.0 percent of his 3-point attempts on 3.9 attempts per game.
It was encouraging, even if there were a few holes to poke in his performance — he still had eight of his 19 games shooting better than 33.3 percent from deep in that time and had some big outlier games including a 4-for-6 showing in the blowout win over the Detroit Pistons and a 5-for-9 showing in the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of the season.
The other place to look at Suggs is how he shot elsewhere and how he got his 3-pointers.
Suggs made 34.8 percent of his 2.1 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts per game last year, according to data from Second Spectrum. Additionally, he shot 30.3 percent on 1.3 pull-up 3-point attempts per game. Only Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner took more pull-up 3-point attempts per game for the team.
Elsewhere, Suggs made a solid 42.3 percent on mid-range shots, but on only 52 total attempts last season (11.7 percent of his total attempts). He also shot 11 for 27 (40.7 percent) from the corners. But that represented only 13.4 percent of his total 3-point attempts.
The bulk of his outside shots came from above the break where he made only 31.8 percent of his 173 3-point attempts. That is clearly where the issues lie and the question is getting Suggs better at those shots or changing his shot diet some (we will get to his shooting at the rim in a moment).
Suggs has plenty of shooting potential though. It is seen in his solid mid-range numbers, his ability to get some separation off the dribble and his free throw shooting (he made 72.3 percent of his free throws last year and 77.3 percent in his rookie year).
This is probably the most difficult improvement to project. It is also the most important for Suggs to get down if he wants to cement his role with this team and reach his full potential.