Everything You Need To Know About Saddiq Bey

Saddiq Bey is one of the most versatile players in this draft. His scoring and defensive versatility will make him a quality rotation player for years.

The NBA has moved away from specialists and into an area where versatility reigns supreme. Sure, there are still guys who are just shooters or just defenders or just vertical floor spacers, but these archetypes are seeing their roles diminish. In a league always seeking versatile wings, Saddiq Bey has all the tools to make him a natural first-round selection in the 2020 NBA Draft.

At 6’8 216 pounds, Bey has an NBA ready body to go along with an NBA ready skillset. He can create his shot off the dribble, knock down spot-up jumpers, and guard nearly any opponent on the floor. Bey’s physical profile and skill set make it very easy to insert him into any rotation.

This season, Bey was one of the most efficient scorers in the country as he scored 1.099 points per possession (PPP) overall, ranking in the 96th percentile, per Synergy. He was a deadly spot-up shooter, navigated the pick-and-roll effectively, finished around the rim, and took advantage of mismatches in the post.

Bey’s versatility on the surface is enticing, but his willingness to fill numerous roles makes him such a desirable prospect. If the team needs him to work off-ball, he will; if he is asked to create his shot, it’s not a problem. Whatever is required, Bey will be able to help.

Early in his career, Bey will likely be used as a spot-up shooter. This season, Bey ranked in the 98th percentile when spotting with 1.314 PPP and in the 98th percentile when shooting off the catch with 1.463 PPP. He does a great job of relocating on the perimeter and took full advantage of a Villanova system eager to make the extra pass. In the NBA, Bey will be a priority target in drive-and-kick situations.

Bey’s size makes him a multi-positional player, which creates a lot of mismatches on offense. Against larger opponents, Bey can lose them on the perimeter with his movement. Against smaller wings, he can take them down to the post for an easy score.

Post-ups aren’t a standard set in the NBA anymore, but they are still incredibly useful when there are apparent mismatches. This season, Bey scored 1 PPP when posting up (86th percentile). While his size doesn’t inherently suggest Bey would be a great post player, he uses his intelligence and skill to abuse guards who switch on him.

Here, we see Bey patiently work for an easy post score. After dribbling off the screen, Bey’s defender fights through and cuts off the drive. Instead of throwing up a wild, off-balance shot, Bey takes his time and posts up the smaller defender. He deftly maneuvers his way into the lane and then uses a quick shoulder fake to freeze his defender momentarily to create space for an easy left-handed hook shot.

Bey’s ability to abuse mismatches isn’t limited to the post, however. While he doesn’t quite fit the mold of a true point-forward, he is skilled enough to run the pick-and-roll at a high level. By doing so, Bey can force opposing big men to guard in space, which won’t end well for most of them.

When running the pick-and-roll this season, Bey scored 0.939 PPP (88th percentile). He was more efficient than Tyrese Maxey, Cassius Winston, and Devon Dotson.

In the below clip, we see how effortlessly Bey can create space for a jumper. After tightly dribbling off the screen, Bey slows down to keep his defender on his hip and prohibit the defender from recovering. As Bey gets into the lane, he gets into his defender’s chest, which unbalances the defender and creates space with the step-back jumper.

Bey wasn’t the most efficient shooter off the dribble this season as he scored just 0.704 PPP (39th percentile). However, clips like the one above show how Bey can create space and how it should be a realistic area of growth for him.

The most significant threat of Bey running the pick-and-roll is how effectively he attacks the rim. When Bey dribbled off the screen and attacked the rim, he scored 1.476 PPP (96th percentile).

Here, Bey punishes the defense for not cutting off his drive. After dribbling off the screen, Bey uses his strength and change of pace dribbling to keep his initial defender on his back. Bey’s slight hesitation makes the drop defender cover the roll man, instead of cutting off the drive. Bey takes advantage of this indecision by exploding off the floor for a monstrous dunk.

Bey has also shown flashes of being an adequate playmaker, mainly passing out of his drives. His interior scoring gravity often attracts help defenders, and when they overhelp, Bey can find open teammates.

Here, Bey does an excellent job of getting into the lane after using the screen. As he gets to the lane, he is well defended, but the defense foolishly helps off the strongside corner. This lapse is a major defensive blunder, and Bey makes them pay by finding the open shooter.

Again, it isn’t a high level read, but Bey does an excellent job finding the open shooter. Villanova is moving the ball nicely, which causes the defense to scramble. Once Bey receives the ball, he uses his driving ability to attack the careless closeout. The defense must collapse on Bey’s drive, so instead of forcing a bad shot, he finds the open shooter.

These are the plays that will take Bey’s offensive game to the next level. He can make the extra pass on the perimeter, but too frequently has blinders on, looking only for his shot. This mindset has made him a quality scorer but limits his upside and overall offensive impact.

Plays like below have been more common when it comes to Bey’s playmaking. He eventually gets bailed out with a bad foul, but everything leading up to it shows his lack of vision. Once Bey denies the ball screen, both defenders go with him. Bey easily could have passed back to his screener, who would have had a wide-open three. Instead, Bey continues his drive, and the defender eventually recovers to the shooter. As Bey gets deeper in the lane, he completely misses his teammate rotating on the weakside wing. A simple kick-out pass would have resulted in a wide-open three.

I know the foul call makes it a positive result, but Bey missed two distinct reads that would have resulted in wide-open threes. In the NBA, teammates will expect to be found in these situations. By taking his blinders off and looking for more than just his shot, Bey will raise his offensive ceiling and be a much more significant contributor.

Versatility is the main selling point with Bey, and that extends to the defensive side too. Bey should be able to defend two through four, some centers, and the occasional point guard. He has the size and athleticism to do so, and his effectiveness should only improve over time.

In the below clip, Bey does an excellent job defending an opposing guard. Bey is initially undisturbed by the slip screen. As his man drives, Bey initially gives up some ground due to the difference in foot speed. Overall, though, Bey does an adequate job of staying with him. Instead of quitting or committing a bad foul, Bey times his jump correctly to block the layup.

Bey will routinely be thrust into these situations with how frequently NBA teams run pick-and-roll and switch. Opposing teams won’t look at him as an easy target, but instead as a formidable defender.

He also shows excellent effort when he is defending away from the ball. Here, Bey covers a ton of ground to eventually force the lousy shot. Bey initially fills the lane well to cut off the drive. He proceeds to rotate out and run the shooter off the three-point line. Since he has a controlled closeout, Bey stays with the drive, instead of flying past and taking himself out of the play. This control is essential because Bey can now contest the shot attempt after funneling the drive to his teammate.

Bey’s defensive versatility will put place him all over the floor, including the post. While he will struggle with true centers like Joel Embiid, Bey can hold his own against most opponents. More importantly, though, Bey has the awareness to switch off his man and contest opposing drives.

Here, Bey is initially sealed off by his man in the post. The ball-handler gets to the rim with ease and forces Bey to make a decision. Bey does an excellent job of disengaging from the post up and challenging the shot by staying vertical and not fouling.

Going forward, it is easy to picture Saddiq Bey in nearly any NBA rotation. His scoring versatility makes him an instant asset as he can act as an excellent off-ball shooter or run the pick-and-roll to create his shot. His passing vision needs improvement as he often has blinders, but he can make the extra pass when needed.

Bey will likely end up getting drafted in the middle of the first round. I would be surprised if he ever makes an All-Star game, but his two-way versatility will contribute to many successful lineups. He has shades of Marcus Morris in his game, which could lead to him being a sort of journeyman as contenders continuously look to add that final piece. In the 2020 NBA Draft, there are few forwards who have the versatility and upside of Saddiq Bey.

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