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Tyler Bey is the perfect project for the Mavericks

If he puts it all together, the rookie could be an important piece.

2020-21 Dallas Mavericks Content Day Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Tyler Bey was drafted by the Mavericks after they traded for the 36th overall pick in addition to Josh Richardson. Bey was one of my favorite choices for the Mavericks to use the 31st overall pick on. His offense is still a little raw, but as the Pac-12’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, he has plenty of potential to make an impact on the court. I’m usually not a huge fan of watching highlights, but Bey puts together a pretty incredible reel.

Bey is on a two-way contract this season, meaning he can play in 50 of the Mavericks’ 72 games this season. He’ll spend the rest of his time with the Texas Legends, who may or may not be participating in the G-League’s bubble this season. This gives him some time to develop his offensive skillset, the biggest thing holding him back from being in an NBA rotation.

Biggest Question

Can the offense develop? It really is that simple.

Bey played all over the floor at Colorado, but the best role for him in the NBA seems to be as a three-and-D wing. Unfortunately for Bey, he doesn’t have that “three” yet. Bey made just 18 threes over 99 career games (0.2 per game). His offense is limited to inside the paint, which isn’t ideal for someone you want playing on the wing.

There’s reason to be optimistic about his shot. Bey is a good free throw shooter, making around 75% of his 403 career attempts. He also had some good numbers on catch-and-shoot jumpers, even with a small sample size. If he can get that shot going in consistently, he’ll be doing himself a great favor.

Best Case Scenario

Bey develops his offense and becomes a difference maker on both ends.

The defense is already there. He has the instincts and his measurables are insane. With a wingspan over 7’1 and a 43.5” vertical, he can play in an NBA defense today. He’s an elite shot blocker as a non-center and has the ability to accumulate multiple steals a night.

If he becomes reliable on offense, he has an full-time NBA contract waiting for him. Adding some slashing, stationary shooting and driving ability would make him a rotation player. Right now, the offense likely has to avoid playing through him. He just doesn’t have enough skills developed to be a threat to opposing defenses. But adding a bread and butter skillset could be enough to get him minutes.

Worst Case Scenario

The offense never comes around and Bey stays in the G-League system for a very long time.

The reality of today’s NBA is that it is extremely difficult to play minutes if you can’t produce offensively. It’s not impossible, and Matisse Thybulle is a perfect example of the exception.

When Thybulle is on the court, the Sixers have a on offensive efficiency of 107.7 and a defensive efficiency of 105.3. When he’s off the court, their offense rises to 110.3 but the defense regresses to 107.7. It’s a small sacrifice for Philly to put an extraordinary wing defender on the floor.

Getting a player like Thybulle on the court often is not easy. If Bey wants to find minutes in an NBA rotation, he’ll have to add some sort of offense and play great defense. If neither of those things happen, Bey may be stuck in the G-League.