Age: 21 (April 9th, 1999)
Weight: 216 lbs
The first thing to always know about a Villanova player is that they always play the game the right way. Meaning that he is a team first player, is fundamentally sound, and will buy into any role he is asked to play. The big draw for Bey has been his 3 and D potential. Defensively, he was responsible for guarding many of the top guards/wings in the country and held his own generally. He’s got very good lateral quickness for his size. The only time I truly saw him struggle was against Markus Howard, but Howard might have been the best player in college basketball outside of Obi Toppin possibly. Bey’s ability to move his feet along with intriguing size makes him a guy that will most likely spend time guarding some of the best forwards in the game. He’s also a willing rotator and knows where he needs to be. As a shooter, he improved ridiculously to being a 45.1% 3 point shooter. It was impressive how he was so efficient and was smart in his shot selection. Also, Jay Wright is one of the best coaches in basketball and taught him to always be shot ready and sometimes somewhat contested 3s, are still good shots. That is an important trait to have in a league where 3 pointers are insanely valuable. His mechanics were also consistent off the dribble as well as off the catch. While I mentioned before he’s always shot ready, that doesn’t mean he’s always pulling the trigger, but it makes him a threat the defense has to respect. Bey’s got a high release point and can shoot with a hand closing out. Bey’s also a sneaky good ball handler and playmaker as he is very comfortable handling the ball at his size. He’s also a very willing playmaker and while he’s not going to be a great floor general by any means, that doesn’t mean he can’t add another dimension for an offense as a tertiary playmaker especially if he’s playing against 4s. On offense, he’s also smart moving without the ball consistently with back door cuts or sliding to spots off of his teammates’ dribble drive penetration. Then as a rebounder, while he didn’t present great numbers, he finds a body to box out every defensive possession. Overall though, Nova players have consistently come into the NBA and have found roles largely based on intelligence and Bey fits into that category.
A big weakness for Bey is the lack of upside. He’s strictly a role player at the next level, which is fine, but if a team is in the lottery and looking for a home run pick, he’s not the guy. He can score within the rhythm of an offense, but will never be a player you build your offense around. I also mentioned how he is a decent ball-handler, but his dribble can get a tad high and loose at times especially when going up against guards. Also, when he gets ran off the 3 point line, he’s looking to pass almost every time. That will be a part of his game he’ll need to develop as a scorer if he truly wants to make the next step offensively. He also needs to improve his left hand and make better decisions when going left as that’s really the only time you see him make bad decisions. On defense, he really doesn’t make a lot of the flashy plays, but he’s almost always in the right position so the “weakness” many consider of him not playing in the passing lanes is overrated. He’s been decent at taking charges and staying vertical when contesting shots, but at times, you would like to see him be a tad more aggressive when rotating and block some shots, because he does have the athleticism to be more of an impact defender, but at this point, it’s unlikely he reaches that level.
Saddiq Bey is going to succeed in the NBA as a versatile forward that can stretch the floor. He plays smart basketball and is too fundamentally sound, and too athletic to fail. He’s not going to make those “wow” plays on either end of the floor, but he will be a glue guy for a team and possibly be the guy that can guard a LeBron or a Kawhi because of his frame and discipline on the defensive end. His lateral quickness is better than average, but not special. His length is fine, but not great. Bey will earn minutes for his work on the defensive end, but he won’t ever be an all-defensive team caliber player. His ability to make decisions quickly is something that will be great for NBA offenses as he’s always thinking ahead and not wasting time. He plays fast and thinks the game fast. He is also going to be a decent floor spacer, but he is not a guy who is going to run around screens and be considered a specialist in that regard. Saddiq can be a great addition for a team in the middle of the first round. Teams that would make sense are the Pelicans (13th), Trailblazers (16th), and the Timberwolves (17th).
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Stats found on Basketball Reference (https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/saddiq-bey-1.html)Photo credit to Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (https://www.denverstiffs.com/2020/5/7/21250320/2020-nba-draft-saddiq-bey-villanova-wildcats)