Jalen Suggs makes Orlando Magic franchise history with defensive efforts

Jalen Suggs was named to the NBA's All-Defensive second team as the first Magic player since Dwight Howard. He also made franchise history in other ways, however.
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five / Jason Miller/GettyImages

All season long, Jalen Suggs was building his case for an NBA All-Defensive team selection.

He took on some of the toughest perimeter assignments across the league, fought over almost every screen set on him, and embodied the Orlando Magic‘s defensive identity.

Orlando finished the regular season with the third-best defensive rating in the NBA and Suggs was a huge part of that. He is the team‘s heart and soul on that end of the floor.

For most Magic fans, there was no doubt that Suggs deserved to be on one of the two NBA All-Defensive teams. After all, he ended the season as one of the best guard defenders in the league, finishing tied for eighth in steals and twelfth in steals-to-turnover ratio across the league.

In the playoffs, Suggs was a menace defensively, making life incredibly difficult for Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. The numbers don‘t tell the whole story, however. To truly understand Jalen Suggs‘ defensive impact on a game, you have to watch him play.

Jalen Suggs becomes the first Orlando Magic guard to make an All-Defensive team

Fortunately, enough voters for the NBA All-Defensive teams watched Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic play this season.

With 18 first-place votes and 63 second-place votes, Suggs made the All-Defensive Second Team. His total of 99 points was the seventh-best number across the league, putting him just one point ahead of Derrick White.

Since the All-Defensive teams are now positionless, the first team is very center-heavy. Except for Herb Jones, all of the best guard defenders in the league were relegated to the second team.

For Suggs, who is only in his third NBA season, that is still a win, however.

Not only has he officially established himself as one of the best guard defenders in the league already, but he also made franchise history.

The Magic have not had many players receive All-Defensive honors so far. In fact, Suggs is only the third Magic player to make an All-Defensive team. The other two are Dwight Howard, who received the honor every year from 2007-12, and Horace Grant, who did it several times back in the 1990s. To find all All-Defensive selections over the years, click here.

So, Suggs is now the first Magic guard in franchise history to make an All-Defensive team, and this will certainly not be the last time. From now on, Suggs should be a regular on this list and might eventually work his way up to the first team.

With the positionless voting process, it will be tough for guards to make a lasting impression on voters — monster blocks around the rim are simply more memorable than a guard fighting over screens and moving his feet well — but Suggs definitely has the talent to do so.

Either way, it is nice to see a Magic player recognized for his defensive efforts again. It has been a while since Dwight Howard and his three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Who knows, soon we might even see Anthony Black or Jonathan Isaac, if he has a healthy season, on the ballot alongside Jalen Suggs.