Jalen Suggs is still the future shooting guard for the Orlando Magic

Nov 2, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) drives to the basket against Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) in the first quarter at the Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 2, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) drives to the basket against Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) in the first quarter at the Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /

It has not been the perfect start to the 2024 season for Jalen Suggs by any means.

Suggs has established himself as one of the best defenders on one of the best defensive teams. His energy and effort have been noticeable and set the tone for the team in so many ways. The Magic are not 4-4 and ranked sixth in the league in defense without Suggs.

He earned his place in the starting lineup for that defense.

Offensively, though, he has still struggled. The 3-point shot has not quite come around yet. He can be a streaky offensive player at best still.

Even with Suggs having his best season and making a real impact for the team, there are still a lot of questions about what the Magic should do with both guard spots. Those questions may not ever go away this season and it might be one of the things this team has to discover as it launches into competitiveness for the first time.

But it is still too early to write off Suggs. Suggs still has the inside track to be a key part of the Magic’s future and their starting shooting guard. His development to this point this season has been promising and impressive.

Suggs has set himself as the team’s heartbeat and defensive engine. It is hard to imagine the Magic making this progress without him.

Jalen Suggs has established himself as the Orlando Magic’s starting shooting guard and defensive heartbeat. There are still questions for him to answer but he should still be considered a big part of the future.

Suggs has had a breakthrough year so far in many ways. He is averaging 11.4 points per game with shooting splits of 40.5/33.3/80.0. That shows how much he can still improve offensively and how his counting stats leave open the door for people to consider Orlando needs an immediate upgrade.

But that does not quite get to Suggs’ impact and why he is so important and promising for the team’s future.

On the defensive end, Suggs has been nearly perfect for Orlando by being disruptive and creating turnovers which in turn allow the Magic to get in transition and get into their offense quicker.

Suggs has made himself the head of the Magic’s top-10 defense in the league at a 106.8 rating. He has averaged 2.3 steals and 0.6 blocks per game which ranks tied for third in league in terms of steals including a career high six steals against he Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.

Suggs is also incredibly disruptive, averaging 3.8 deflections per game, which is fourth in the league. Orlando has a 105.2 defensive rating with Suggs on the floor, further displaying his defensive impact.

The Magic want to have a defensive identity and there is no one better at the guard position.

Suggs is also top 10 in rebounding for the shooting guard position at 4.9 per game. This is important as it either allows second chance points or it closes a defensive position. Rebounding has been a strong suit for Orlando so far and Suggs is in the middle of it.

The question marks are on the other end of the floor. Offensively, Suggs has shown flashes of what he can provide and it is too early to decide he cannot fit in the Magic’s future.

The Magic need spacing, there is no question about that but Suggs has shown flashes of what he can contribute on that end while there is also reason to belief that he can contribute.

Suggs has not gotten off to strongest start shooting the ball at 33.3-percent from three and 40.5-percent from the field overall. But he is a solid 80.0-percent from the free-throw line suggesting there is still shooting improvement to come from him.

It is still a small sample size and there are trends in his career to give Suggs time to turn it around.

In terms of shooting percentage from his rookie year to his sophomore year, Suggs had increased his 3-point shooting from 21.4 percent to 32.7 percent and 36.1 percent to 41.9 percent from the field overall. Even post all-star break last season, Suggs shot 36-percent from three.

That is promising. And Suggs will occasionally have percentage-boosting games like Thursday when he will hit four of five in a game. Those have been some of Suggs’ best games. Not to mention Suggs has a penchant for hitting big shots — like his three-pointers to help defeat the Golden State Warriors last year at the Amway Center or his game-winner against the Chicago Bulls at United Center.

Suggs has shown the trend to improve his shooting as time has gone on so there should be reason to believe Suggs can continue to grow as an offensive player.

Suggs has the athleticism to get to the rim and once his shot comes around his game as a whole will grow and make his life easier while creating the spacing Orlando is looking for.

The Magic are certainly eager to see what he can do now that he is healthy and to see how he can improve. He has a lot to prove this year. And the Magic are giving him the space to do so.

It is still early to call for change and give up on Suggs.

For this group, nobody seems eager to do that with how he sets the tone for the team defensively. The Magic are looking for a defensive identity that wants to create turnovers and create havoc and make opposing offenses uncomfortable.

Next. Orlando Magic finding their right tempo. dark

On the offensive end, Suggs may have not gotten off to best start, but there is reason to believe he can turn it around and be the shooting guard that this team needs moving forward.