Orlando Magic SG Jalen suggests cementing great season with all-defense nominee

ORLANDO – Jalen Suggs was the heart and soul of an Orlando Magic defense that ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating, fourth in points allowed and fifth in steals per game.

Now, Suggs has the recognition to demonstrate his growing impact on the Magic and his place among the NBA’s best defenders.

Suggs made the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, which was announced Tuesday. He is the first Magic point guard to make an All-Defense team and just the third Magic honoree in 35 years. Dwight Howard and Horace Grant are the others.

Suggs’ defensive efforts were part of a career season for the former Gonzaga guard. He also posted career-best averages in points (12.6), field goal percentage (47.1), 3-point percentage (39.7) and offensive rating (112.9).

Entering last season, Suggs’ role was uncertain. Through his first two seasons, he played in just 101 games, starting 64. With a host of guards on Orlando’s roster, Suggs was under pressure to live up to expectations as a former No. 5 overall pick. .

Starting with his elite defense, Suggs, 22, was an integral part of the engine that helped lead the Magic to their best season since 2010-11.

Suggs tied for seventh in the NBA in steals with 1.4 per game, the best of his career. The 6-foot-5 guard had 31 games with at least two steals, including one game with six steals, three games with four steals and eight games with three steals. Orlando was 20-11 in those games in which Suggs had multiple steals.

Suggs also had a career-best defensive rating of 110.4, 12th best among players who played at least 2,000 minutes this season.

“We had fun playing defense,” Suggs said Dec. 11. “We enjoy being activated and energized on defensive plays all the way to the end of the line. Everyone does it and everyone accepts it. We all have that collective It’s hard to score mentality. We have a lot of versatility, a lot of passion and a lot of will.”

“We have some guys on this team between Jalen (Suggs) and JI (Jonathan Isaac), who I like to call the snakeheads on the defensive end,” Magic guard Cole Anthony said on Nov. 22. Those are two guys who have potential for the all-defensive team. When I’m on the bench watching how hard Jalen plays on that defensive end, it makes me want to go out there and defend, because that energy is contagious.”

Suggs was joined on the second all-defensive team by Boston Celtics guards Jrue Holiday and Derrick White, Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels.

First-Team All-Defensive honorees were Minnesota Timberwolves rim protector and Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama, New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones, Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis.