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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Former Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs gets favorable reviews from NBA general managers

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 5, 2021

Orlando’s Jalen Suggs and Boston’s Marcus Smart dive for a loose ball in Monday’s NBA preseason game. Suggs is viewed as the “biggest steal” of this year’s NBA draft by the league’s general managers.  (Associated Press)
Orlando’s Jalen Suggs and Boston’s Marcus Smart dive for a loose ball in Monday’s NBA preseason game. Suggs is viewed as the “biggest steal” of this year’s NBA draft by the league’s general managers. (Associated Press)

Jalen Suggs has yet to play in a regular-season game, but he’s already receiving strong praise from NBA general managers.

The former Gonzaga standout’s name came up several times in NBA.com’s annual survey of the league’s general managers.

Suggs, who was selected fifth overall by Orlando, was tabbed as the biggest steal of the July draft. He received 23% of the vote, followed by Alperen Sengus (16th to Houston) at 20%.

General managers picked Suggs third for rookie of the year with 7% of the voting, behind Houston’s Jalen Green (47%) and Detroit’s Cade Cunningham (40%). Cunningham was the first pick in the draft, followed by Green.

Suggs was fourth in the category of which rookie will be the best player in five years. The top three: Cleveland’s Evan Mobley at 33%, Cunningham at 30% and Green at 23%. Suggs was next at 10% and Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell was fifth at 3%.

Suggs had nine points, four rebounds and three assists as Orlando dropped its preseason opener Monday to Boston.

Indiana, led by former Zag Domantas Sabonis, was projected to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn is heavily favored to win the Eastern Conference (83% of first-place votes) and the Finals (72%). Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant was slightly favored over Luka Doncic in the MVP race.

Former Zag forward Zach Collins, who signed a three-year deal with San Antonio, received votes in the most surprising offseason move category. Washington’s trade of Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers was No. 1.

The Wizards tied for third, behind Miami and the Lakers, for best offseason moves. Washington drafted former GU standout Corey Kispert in the middle of the first round. Kispert joins 2019 first-round pick Rui Hachimura on the roster.

Ex-Zag Joel Ayayi is on a two-way contract with the Lakers, heavy favorites to win the Western Conference.

Chicago was projected as the most improved team. Washington and Memphis, which has former Gonzaga standout forwards Brandon Clarke and Killian Tillie on the roster, received votes.

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