Despite the seemingly endless bad breaks that the Sixers have gotten in recent years, they are lucky enough to have the 21st pick in the upcoming draft. This pick has bounced in and out of the Sixers possession and before the season, there was just a 0.5% chance of the Thunder not keeping the pick due to it’s top-20 protection.
Regardless, the pick is now in the fold and the Sixers should be doing their homework on finding a player to make an immediate impact if they choose to hold onto it. One guy that does not seem to be getting enough buzz is Saddiq Bey.
It is quite clear that shooting was the biggest weakness on the Sixers roster last year. Adding volume shooters that can hit jumpers at a high rate is absolutely necessary if this team is to turn things around and work their way back into the championship contender conversation once again. Luckily, Saddiq Bey would be able to make an immediate impact in this regard.
This past season at Villanova, Bey shot 45.1% from 3-point range on 5.6 attempts per game. He has a quick trigger and shoots the ball with little hesitation, which would be a refreshing change in what was seen from the Sixers this year. Bey takes almost as many 3’s as he does 2’s which makes him a great fit in the modern NBA. He also averaged 1.463 points per possession on catch-and-shoot opportunities this past season which ranked in the 98th percentile in college basketball.
Bey has a much higher defensive IQ and grasping of defensive schemes than most players coming out of college. He has solid lateral quickness, good footwork, and is very engaged off the ball. His 6’8 height and 6’11 wingspan also help him to recover when he loses a step. Bey showed the ability (and even a sense of pride) in being able to guard every position on the floor as he used his length to match up with big men and his quickness to follow around smaller guards.
In some regards, Bey’s defensive style is quite a contrast to Matisse Thybulle, who would likely be competing for similar minutes. Bey’s steal and block numbers are fairly low, but that is not an exact indication of what he brings to the table defensively. While Thybulle thrives at getting into passing lanes and using his long arms to disrupt plays, Bey would much rather square up and force a bad shot. Saddiq has also proven to be a much better team defender rather than individual. In 1-on-1 situations his athletic limitations tend to be put on display and he also needs to improve on defending the pick and roll. In a half-court set, Bey impressed greatly on his defensive ability. He rotates quickly, is constantly in the right defensive position, and communicates well.
While he may not grow into the biggest defensive threat in the league, he certainly will not be a liability. A defensive scheme where switching occurs often would suit him best, and Bey could play well alongside Ben and even Matisse due to his positional versatility. His ceiling as a defender may not be as high as some of the more athletic guys in the draft. However, the fundamentals and good habits he has certainly indicate he can make an immediate impact.
In recent years, Villanova has been proven to turn out NBA ready talent. Whether it be Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, or Mikal Bridges, the Nova products have proven to be able to step in as role players immediately. Saddiq Bey will be the next name put in this conversation and his high IQ is a large reason for this.
Saddiq rarely forces shots, makes smart cuts, has overall impressive off-ball movement, and has fairly low turnover numbers. He showed great development in reading defenses and finding cutters in his second year in college. Bey was often used as the pick-and-roll ball handler this year and produced at the 88th percentile in the NCAA at points per possession in this scenario. Bey had around a 15% assist percentage, which is pretty impressive for a wing player.
Saddiq is unselfish with the ball but confident attacking the basket, especially coming off screens. He has long strides that propel him to the basket and he attacks strong with the ball. At times Saddiq can appear passive as he passes up good looks in order to get the ball to his teammates a little too often in college. Overall he seems extremely mature in his understanding of the game which will go a long way in his appeal to NBA teams.
Fit on Sixers
Saddiq Bey is a guy that the Sixers should feel 100% confident in taking if they choose the keep the 21st pick. His shooting ability will be the draw but the rest of his game is just as exciting. Bey has one of the highest floors out of the prospects in the draft simply based on the immediate translation that should occur with his shooting and defensive ability. Saddiq would likely be able to grow into major bench minutes and his fit around Simmons and Embiid should be pretty seamless. He also has proven to have great instincts on which lanes to fill in transition which would be a great addition to the fast-break that Ben Simmons runs so well.
Saddiq is unlikely to grow into a star, but finding an impact role player is all you can ask for with a late first-round pick. A lineup with Simmons, Matisse, and Saddiq would be extremely versatile on the defensive end which needs to be emphasized. Bey is somewhat of a question mark and he is projected to be taken anywhere from the 15th pick to the mid-twenties. While this year’s draft is especially tough to judge who will be taken where, it seems likely Saddiq will be on the board at 21 and the Sixers should not hesitate if this is the case.
Mandatory Credit – Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire