Sixers Draft Preview: Is Tyler Bey the next Robert Covington?

While the majority of the basketball world has turned their attention to the league’s restart in Orlando, the NBA draft is still just a few weeks away. Considering that the Sixers are in a bit of a salary cap nightmare currently, Elton Brand and the Philadelphia front office need to have an impactful 2020 draft.

The Sixers have regularly been mocked to elite shooters and playmakers in the first round (Saddiq Bey, Tyus Jones, etc.), however the team could opt to go a completely different route come draft day. Last year every mock in the world had the 76ers taking a shooter in the first round, yet Elton Brand pulled a wildcard and traded up for an impactful defender instead (Matisse Thybulle). Considering how that pick worked out for Philly, Brand could double down on his defensive investment.


TYLER BEY, FORWARD

University of Colorado

Strengths: on-ball defense, size/strength, shot blocking, rebounding

Weaknesses: perimeter shooting, ball security, playmaking ability

2019-20 College Stats: 13.8 PTS, 9.0 REB, 1.5 BLK, 1.2 STL


Winner of the “Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year” award in 2020, Bey is an absolute force on the defensive side of things. Standing at 6’ 7” with a wingspan of over 7-feet, the 21 year old Las Vegas native made a name for himself as being one of the best all around defenders in college basketball.

Setting career-highs in both steals per game and blocks per game, it didn’t necessarily seem to matter what position Bey was guarding. He could bang down low in the post and push people away from the hoop with his strength, and he could also guard out on the perimeter with his lateral quickness and active hands. 

Bey was named to the All-Pac-12 Second-Team in 2019 and then the First-Team in 2020. He won the Pac-12’s “Most Improved” award in 2019, and has since elevated himself into a projected first-round talent in this year’s upcoming NBA draft. According to tankathon.com, Bey is currently expected to land in the mid-to-late 20s.

While Bey’s excellent defense has been compared to guys like Shawn Marion and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, his offensive capabilities leave a lot to be desired. Bey has attempted just 59 total three pointers across three years of collegiate play, and has routinely shown a lack of confidence when shooting the ball. It wasn’t rare to see Bey airball an open mid-range jumper at least once a game.

On top of Bey’s shooting struggles, he’s proven to be a bit careless with the basketball. Averaging 2.4 turnovers per game last year, Bey really isn’t someone a team should expect to handle the basketball at all. He operates best as a slashing forward or as a low post option against smaller opponents.


Bey is an intriguing option for one primary reason,  it would give the Sixers one of the best defensive lineups in the NBA (possibly even the best). Combining Bey with Thybulle (2019’s PAC-12 DPOY), Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid creates a seriously scary group of defenders. Bey has routinely shown the ability to operate as a stretch four, and would slot in perfectly at the power forward position.

However, Bey’s inherent lack of offensive production is obviously a reason for concern. The Sixers desperately need floor spacers, and Bey is not that. 

When watching Bey’s film, it was hard to not think of former Sixer Robert Covington. “RoCo” was by no means an above average shooter when he entered the league, however over time, he developed into a proper floor spacer by being forced to shoot playing next to Simmons and Embiid. Considering RoCo and Bey are so similar when it comes to their defensive energy and athleticism, it’s possible a similar scenario could take place.

Bey likely won’t be at the top of Elton Brand’s draft board, however considering how great of a success the Thybulle pick turned out to be, I would expect the Sixers to do some serious homework on the Colorado forward.


Mandatory Credit – © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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