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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Saddiq Bey

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Lemon pepper flats and Saddiq Bey — the best kind of wings.

Villanova v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Villanova’s Saddiq Bey will be the most talented wing in the back-end of the lottery. His projected draft range has been all of the place, from ten and below all the way to the mid 20s. It wouldn’t surprise if the Mavericks are crossing their fingers for him to fall to 18.

The Specs

Height: 6’8

Weight: 216 lbs

Wingspan: 6’11

Key Notes

Offense

  • A tremendous outside shooter, especially in spot up and catch-and-shoot situations
  • Very good stationary passer for his size and position
  • Patient and disciplined, not a guy who forces it
  • Can over-pass at times and pass out of good looks
  • Not many promising flashes of him becoming a good driver
  • A very, very, very slow first step

Defense

  • Patient and disciplined, stays on his feet
  • Very smart — sees passing lanes, knows his assignment and how to treat them
  • Good switching ability, can realistically guard 2 through 4, with the potential to defend the 5
  • Overall a very good defender thanks to length and discipline
  • Isn’t a stat-stuffing defender, averaged 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocks per game in 67 career games

Active Player Comparisons

If everything goes wrong: Dorian Finney-Smith lite

If everything goes right: Robert Covington

Most Realistic Outcome: Prime Wesley Matthews (stolen from my friend @mavsdraft)

Stats and Accomplishments

2018-19 Big East All-Freshman Team

2019-20 All-Big East First Team, The Julius Erving Award (best small forward), Wooden Award Finalist

Best Games Last Season

vs. Georgetown

33 points, 3 assists, 10-15 (66.7%) FGA, 8-10 (80%) 3PA

@ Butler

29 points, 6 rebounds, 11-20 (55%) FGA, 5-8 (62.5%) 3PA

3 Key Things

  1. The Athleticism

Athleticism is the ultimate get out of jail free card for draft prospects. De’Aaron Fox was selected fifth overall despite being a subpar finisher and a below 30 percent three-point shooter at Kentucky. Why? Athleticism. RJ Hampton will be selected in this year’s lottery despite having a lackluster season in the NBL. Why? Athleticism. So, what happens when you have a guy like Bey who checks almost every box but is slow?

I’m not trying to be too hard on Bey for this. There are still plenty of things he does very well. All we need to do this information is be very realistic in how we gauge his potential.

2. The Offense

Bey was a very good scorer in college — 96th percentile good according to Synergy. The majority of his offensive numbers are baffling:

  • Spot up shooting: 1.314 points per possession, 98th percentile
  • Transition: 1.385 points per possession, 93rd percentile
  • Pick-and-roll: .939 points per possession, 88th percentile

The only big question mark is how he can supplement offense when the shot isn’t going well. He was only in the 36th percentile of isolation scorers and 66th percentile around the rim last season. At Villanova, he was able to supplement his lack of athleticism by bullying his way to the rim on cuts. With the amount of speed the NBA has, I’m interested to see how this translates. His passing ability also comes in handy here, as he can create opportunities for his teammates.

3. The Identity

If Bey were to join the Mavericks roster, he’d automatically be the tallest non-center on the roster. He’s almost the same weight as Dorian Finney-Smith but stands at an inch taller. Just as Finney-Smith functions as a sort of Swiss Army Knife for the Mavericks — playing multiple possessions and fulfilling many roles — Bey can do the same.

Who is he going to be in the NBA? We saw him guard 2 through 4 at Nova, sometimes even 1 through 5. With his length, high IQ and defensive discipline, he could potentially be one of the most versatile defenders in the rotation.

The Checklist

(NOTE: If there is ever a grade in the checklist above that you feel doesn’t make sense based on the rest of the information, you can always leave a comment below. I try my best to pop in every once in a while to answer any questions. Or, you can always DM me on Twitter @ryanmainville for a definite response.)

Role with the Mavericks

Bey is about the most textbook plug-and-play guy in this class. He has a clear role on any team in the league, but his spot on the Mavericks is crystal clear. On a team with primarily offensive-minded wings, Bey would offer a refreshing amount of defense. Bey also shot a blistering 63 percent on left corner threes and 57 percent from the right corner, a skill Luka Doncic has already proven to capitalize on. His slashing will hopefully translate well in the league, but even if it doesn’t, you have a sure fire spot up shooter.

Summary

UPDATE (10/29): This profile was written before Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reported the Mavericks were interested in moving up in the draft. It was also written before Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com reported the Mavericks were hosting Bey in addition to Iowa State’s Tyrese Halliburton for a workout on October 29. The fact that we’re hearing this much information from a very hush-hush front office is a little suspicious to me, but that’s not what I’m here for.

Bey and Halliburton will both be high-lottery prospects. If the Mavericks are serious about moving up, they’re going to have to really move up if they want either of these guys. For what it’s worth, I think both of these guys would be good fits in Dallas. I’m just having a tough time imagining it as all the leaked information over the past three days has tied my original desired draft strategy into knots.