Nonetheless, the 19-year-old security guard emerged as the face of March Madness and cemented his position as an elite prospect in the 2021 NBA draft. With the tank race already underway, here is a list of the five best landing spots for the budding franchisee Point guard.

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5. Houston Rockets (13-37): Currently runner-up on a draft lottery order

No team needs a franchise more than the Rockets, who have been shaken by their split from James Harden. John Wall nominated for the reins earlier this year, but the 30-year-old point guard appears unable to commit a crime every night due to his extensive history of injuries. After a nightmare season of roster changes and chemical concerns, freshman coach Stephen Silas would certainly welcome Suggs’ youth, character and work ethic.

Houston would use Suggs as the main guardian in an inside-out tandem with the Christian Wood center. Together, Suggs and Wood would make formidable pick-and-roll partners, and their shared athleticism would serve as the Rockets’ identity. Both players can put pressure on the rim and shoot the ball from the outside, so General Manager Rafael Stone can focus on targeting role players who can shoot and defend. Houston will only get a shot at Suggs if they land one of the top four picks in the draft, otherwise the pick will be passed on to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-30): Currently in seventh place in the draft lottery order

Given the presence of point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, conventional thinking dictates that the thunder might favor Cade Cunningham, a large game wing that starred in the nearby state of Oklahoma, or Evan Mobley, a potential franchise center. However, the possibility of Gilgeous-Alexander and Suggs backcourt is tempting in an NBA that now favors well-rounded playmakers.

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Both Gilgeous-Alexander and Suggs offer value on the ball with their attacking skills and with their outside shooting at the ball. In addition, their size, length and speed allow them to defend multiple positions. They would be age-based as Gilgeous-Alexander is only 22 years old and the duo could grow together like guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum from Portland Trail Blazers. Oklahoma City has been in full tank mode since the All-Star hiatus, and GM Sam Presti could fire two shots at Suggs, depending on where his choice and Houston’s choice land.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-38): Currently on draft lottery order first

Minnesota has been so unlucky and experienced so many tragedies in recent years that it feels like an unnecessary curse to contemplate a homecoming for Suggs, a native of West St. Paul, Minnesota. Still, Suggs would be a dream addition to a wayward franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004 and has struggled to develop a young core in recent years. When Timberwolves fans hugged backup guard Tyus Jones for his Minnesota roots a few years ago, imagine the sentimental welcome Suggs would receive on a return from Twin Cities. To do this, the Timberwolves must finish in the top three on the draft order, otherwise their selections will go to the Golden State Warriors.

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While Suggs has the chance to be Minnesota’s best basketball product since Kevin McHale, arriving here could take some juggling. The Timberwolves passed LaMelo Ball on to pick up Anthony Edwards with the top pick last year. They were content with sticking with D’Angelo Russell as their lead ball handler. Russell’s injury issues have played a big part in the Timberwolves’ grim season, and they could be better off cutting their losses and giving Suggs the keys. A Suggs-Edwards backcourt would be incredibly young and dynamic, and would provide Minnesota with a solid platform to build on should trade rumors arise when Karl-Anthony Towns hits his second deal.

2. New Orleans Pelicans (22-27): Currently 11th on draft lottery order

Building around Zion Williamson will be one of the league’s most intriguing challenges over the next five years, but it’s already clear that the Pelicans will need more elite talent than they have on hand to compete. Start here: imagine if Williamson wasn’t held back by one of the worst point guard rotations in the league. The sophomore sensation – averaging 26.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game while often serving as the lead playmaker – would be even more unstoppable and the Pelicans would be a solid playoff team rather than on Sit-in-bubble game.

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Suggs’ ability to clear the field of play would open up more room for Williamson to attack the defenses from above, and his ball moving skills would help New Orleans avoid stagnant stretches and spotty late game runs. Adding Suggs would give Stan Van Gundy the opportunity to use Williamson as a battering ram in pick-and-rolls more often, and it would allow the Pelicans to deviate from Eric Bledsoe. It all sounds too good to be true.

1. Toronto Raptors (20-30): Currently in seventh place in the draft lottery order

It’s no secret that the Raptors are preparing to live without Kyle Lowry, as the veteran point guard was heavily shopped in front of his summer-free agency before the close of trading. Suggs would make an ideal succession plan, along with Fred VanVleet, to give Toronto a replaceable back space for everything. If his success in Gonzaga’s egalitarian offense is any indication, Suggs would thrive as part of an even attack in Toronto that sees six players averaging double digits.

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The Raptors have assembled an up-and-coming group of next-generation strikers and wings including Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and limited freelance agent Gary Trent Jr. In order for this group to reach their full potential, Toronto needs a major distributor to engage and create offense like Lowry for so many years. Suggs’ leadership would also be useful to a Raptors team struggling with persistence and chemistry while temporarily in Tampa Bay during the pandemic.

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