Thursday, December 9 2021

Fresh off of his first NBA preseason game, Orlando Magic rookie Jalen Suggs expressed his desire to bring energy and effort each night to the court for his team.

He did just that for the Magic in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Suggs, who earned the start on Monday, finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in 21 minutes of work. He shot just 3-of-11 from the field but managed to shake off some early nerves to impact the game.

He scored the first points for the Magic, and helped his team lead for much of the evening before exiting after the third quarter. Unfortunately, Suggs was guarded by Marcus Smart throughout the contest and had some ups and downs as a result.

Overall, the Magic were happy with his first game as a professional.

“I think he did well for understanding who was guarding him,” Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Marcus Smart is first-team All-Defense at times and understanding that this is Jalen coming into his first NBA game. I really think he handled himself well. He had some open looks. He was making the right play and the ball started with him and it was moving around the horn at times. I really think he did well considering who was guarding him.”

The first game for any rookie can serve as a great learning opportunity. Suggs will have plenty to work on as the Magic progress through the preseason but the fifth overall pick put forth a strong effort versus a veteran team in the Celtics.

Suggs pointed to his defensive effort throughout the contest that gave him confidence heading into the next game on Wednesday. He was active in the passing lanes, and had a strong sequence in the third quarter with blocks on back-to-back possessions.

While shots may fall, Suggs knows he can bring effort every night.

“My effort, that takes no skill every night,” Suggs said. “It just takes you wanting to go out there and actually do it and give it your all. Shots are going to fall. Sometimes the ball’s going to bounce your way and sometimes it isn’t. But defense, rebounding and talking — all of those things are things that take no talent and you can do every night.”

The Magic enter the season projected to be largely in a developmental state with several young players on the roster. The team knows these experiences will help shape the future of the organization and it will be crucial for the development of Suggs and others.

Orlando faces the New Orleans Pelicans next on Wednesday on the road.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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