Jalen Suggs said he felt like a kid on Christmas morning. And Magic fans probably felt the same way watching him.
The No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft made one hell of a first impression during his unofficial NBA debut, leading the Magic to a 91-89 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors in Orlando’s Summer League opener.
Suggs had a game-high 24 points, shooting 9-for-22 from the field, including 3 of 6 from three. He also added nine rebounds, two steals and three blocks, one of which was a potential game saver that’s headed for the highlight reels. He shot 9-for-22 from the field, going 3 for 6 from long range.
What stood out most, however, was his defensive performance. With under 30 seconds remaining and the score tied, Suggs found himself alone in a 2-on-1 fast break situation as the Warriors charged down court. After Kyle Guy delivered a bounce pass to Moses Moody, Suggs spun, elevated and blocked what could have been a go-ahead layup.
Suggs then narrowly missed a drive to the basket as time expired. But he took over offensively in overtime, scoring the Magic’s first six points en route to victory in his unofficial NBA debut.
“I felt like a little kid on Christmas, to be honest,” Suggs told reporters after the game. “It was so much fun.”
The Magic’s other 2021 lottery pick didn’t have quite as much fun. Franz Wagner struggled throughout, going 0-for-6 from three-point range and missing badly on many. He finished with five points on 2-for-8 shooting, adding six rebounds and two assists.
“As long as I try to do my best and stay confident, I think good things will happen,” Wagner told reporters.
The Magic trailed by 10 early in the fourth before Hassani Gravett drained three triples in less than three minutes to pull Orlando within 73-70 with 6:23 to go.
Suggs — who opened the game by hitting his first two shots: a pull-up jumper and a catch-and-shoot three — then put the Magic in front by hitting a three with 3:59 left for a 78-76 lead.
“I want to be the one who’s in the position to make the play when it’s time to win,” Suggs said. “When it’s time to make winning plays, I want the ball in my hand.”
The Magic started Suggs in a three-guard set alongside Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton. But Orlando’s second-year players didn’t have the greatest start to Summer League as Anthony struggled from the field and Hampton was sloppy with the ball. Anthony had just six points on 1-for-9 shooting, though a concerted effort on defense was apparent. Hampton had nine points, including the pretty reverse below, but also a team-high five turnovers.
The other star of the show for the Magic was Janis Timma, who Orlando earned the rights to on a 2015 draft-night trade with the Bucks. The 6-8 forward, with bleach blonde hair and lime green sneakers, shot 3-for-5 from deep and finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
Ignas Brazdeikis added 12 points.
For the Warriors, No. 7 overall pick Jonathan Kuminga had a team-high 16 points, overpowering Wagner at times, and No. 14 pick Moses Moody added 15 as Golden State fell to 1-2.
The Magic’s next game in Summer League comes on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET against the Cleveland Cavaliers.