“Saddiq Bey is one of the safest picks in this year’s NBA draft” -Rob Dauster, NBC Sports
“He’ll punish teams for leaving him on the perimeter, putting defenders in a conundrum when it comes to help defense” -Brain Sampson, brewhoop.com
“One of the more NBA ready players in this year’s draft” -Derek Bast, NBADraft.net
If it isn’t clear already, Villanova small forward Saddiq Bey is one of the most highly regarded prospects in this year’s upcoming draft. After absolutely lighting up the NCAA during his sophomore season, he’s given himself a pretty solid shot at landing as a lottery pick. While the Sixers won’t be picking until 21/22, it’s worth at least doing some due diligence on the sharpshooting Wildcat.
SADDIQ BEY – SMALL FORWARD
Strengths: ELITE shooting, two-way player, high energy, basketball IQ
Weaknesses: lateral quickness, shot creation, strength, rebounding, playmaking
College Stats (2019-20): 16.1 PTS, 4.7 REB, 2.4 AST
After a lackluster freshman season at Villanova, Bey absolutely exploded onto the scene in 2019. Seeing his points per game double, Bey quickly proved to be one of the nation’s top perimeter threats. Shooting 45.1% on 5.6 three-point attempts per game, Bey immediately caught the eye of NBA scouts everywhere.
Bey’s ability to shoot the long ball is the primary selling point for the 21 year old. He has an uber quick release, strong mechanics, and proved capable shooting in multiple scenarios. He shot 51.1% on catch-and-shoot jumpers and 53.3% while coming off screens. This ability to shoot in a stationary manner or on the move translates almost perfectly to an NBA offense. Check out the silky smooth shooting motion below:
The other major “pro” to Bey’s game is the willingness he’s shown on the defensive side of things. Despite not being the most athletic player on the court, he’s played with a high-energy type of defense that can’t necessarily be taught. He was regularly seen deflecting passes, diving for loose balls, and getting physical with his opposition. His strong off the ball defense and 6’ 8” frame makes him a prime candidate to play a “D-and-three” type role in the NBA.
While Bey isn’t the most gifted “off the dribble” scorer coming out of college, he does possess an extremely solid understanding of where to be on the court. When he wasn’t draining threes, he was cutting back door for easy layups, or using his body to create space. Similar to that of his defensive energy, a high basketball IQ isn’t something a coach can normally teach.
Despite how great Bey was in his sophomore year under coach Jay Wright, there are a few flaws to his game that have given coaches reason to worry. Despite his overall strong defensive work in college, he regularly struggled when it came to playing on-ball defense or post defense. When smaller, quicker players would take him off the dribble, he relied heavily on help defense. When bigger, stronger players took him down low, he would get moved around (Bey only weighs 215lbs).
Using Bey in more of a Robert Covington type role in the NBA is the way to go when it comes to hiding some of these flaws. Let him be active off ball and disrupt the passing lanes, focusing on guarding players his own size.
Bey’s overall rebounding/assist numbers also weren’t all that impressive last year, but that likely won’t sway NBA scouts one way or the other. He’s being drafted for his shooting, not his passing and/or rebounding.
Bey also struggled a bit when it came to pure shot creation. He was more effective coming off of screens or in catch-and-shoot type scenarios.
When all is said and done, Saddiq Bey is arguably the best pure shooter in this year’s draft class. He’s an elite floor spacer who’s projected to see most of his ability carry over into the NBA. Ignoring all his minor weaknesses for a second, this is a player who will likely see his name called within the first 15 picks. Any guy knocking down 2+ threes a game is extremely valuable in today’s NBA.
Obviously, Philadelphia would absolutely love to see Bey rocking a Sixers jersey next year. Not only did he go to school in the area, but he provides some much needed floor spacing to a shooting depleted team. If Elton Brand is sold on Bey, a fairly aggressive trade up will likely need to happen. Currently projected to be drafted 14th overall, he’ll be long gone by the time the Sixers are on the clock.
Check out some of the other entries in our “Sixers’ Draft Preview” series:
Mandatory Credit – © Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports