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NBA Draft Scouting: Saddiq Bey

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Bey is my favourite player in this Draft

Villanova v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images


Height - 6’8

Weight - 216 lbs

Wingspan - 6’11

Jay Wright runs one of the best programs in college basketball. Villanova have been consistently excellent over the last five years but Wright has not changed his core ideas about coaching at the collegiate level. It is easy for coaches to fall in love with 5-Star recruits but not Jay Wright.

Wright has continued to do what he has always done, find smart players and develop them into NBA players. Wright’s process has meant that Villanova have won two NCAA titles in the last four years while also sending seven players to the NBA. Donte DiVincenzo, Mikal Bridges and Jaden Brunson are just three of the seven players who are excelling at the NBA level.

Saddiq Bey will be the eighth Wildcat to make the leap and he is perfectly suited for the modern NBA. Bey has everything that a 3&D wing needs in today’s NBA. I am not joking when I say that Saddiq Bey is my favourite player in this Draft, I genuinely believe that he is that good.

The Thunder would have to trade up to get Saddiq on the roster. Bey is projected to go in the middle of the first round, around 16th overall. The Thunder currently own 25th and would have to find a trade in the late lottery to make sure that the team can get Saddiq Bey. The ideal partner exists at 14, Boston.

The Celtics are contending for a title and will need every slither of cap space to pull off moves that can help them win now. Moreover, finances are tight for the Celtics. Boston’s payroll for 2020-21 sits at $140.56m. The Celtics would be over the luxury tax for the first time since 2012-13 and would have to pay $12.6m in tax.

The Celtics are in the luxury tax before Danny Ainge can make any offseason moves. Any additions to the squad would incur a greater amount of tax. The costs will not shrink for the Celtics going forward, Jayson Tatum is due for a maximum extension this offseason.

All of these financial commitments will mean the Celtics will be deep in the luxury tax for the foreseeable future. It would make sense to trim salary off the payroll now so that the team can be proactive in the trade market when free agency rolls around.

Boston have three firsts in this Draft, adding all three rookies would mean that the tax bill swells to $17m. It is in the Celtics’ interest to move one of these picks so that there is greater financial flexibility going forward.

I do not believe that Boston would want players but they will be looking to offload some of their fringe rotation players. The Thunder will be rebuilding going forward and would be fine absorbing contracts if Oklahoma City benefits in the long-term.

I believe that a trade proposal will look something like this:

OKC Receives: 14th Pick in the 2020 Draft, Semi Ojeleye and Vincent Poirier

BOS Receives: $3.5m in Cash Considerations, Grizzlies Second Round Pick in 2024, Thunder Second Round Pick in 2021

On the whole, there are not a lot of assets being transacted in this deal but the small details are what makes this trade worthwhile. The Celtics would save $7m in tax by shedding $4.3m in salary. With a little extra work by Danny Ainge, Boston would be able to get under the luxury tax.

In addition to the tax benefits, Boston would receive $3.5m in cash. This money would be used to offset the any tax costs for the Celtics’ ownership. During a period of time where finances are fraught, I do not think that the Celtics’ organisation would turn down free money. The Celtics would also get draft picks which could be used down the line to acquire a player.

Oklahoma City would get the 14th Pick in the Draft for the team’s willingness to eat salary. It is a low-cost transaction for the Thunder which would result in a quality prospect coming to OKC.

Saddiq Bey has a fair few strengths but I would say that his shooting is his strongest point. Bey is efficient from downtown on both catch and shoot looks and movement-based deep shots. Bey was statistically one of the best catch and shoot threats in the whole of college basketball.

Bey’s form is a little unorthodox but his mechanics are sound. Saddiq has a fast, high release that is difficult for a defense to contest. Bey maximises his shooting threat by being confident on these looks. There is very little hesitation on his part when he gets a good look from outside.

Saddiq is more comfortable as a static shooter but he is also really efficient when knocking down shots when moving. Jay Wright runs a modern, NBA-style offense in which shooters come off screens into looks. Bey received a healthy portion of these shots and Saddiq was a deadeye on this shot type.

I would argue that Aaron Nesmith is the best shooting wing in this Draft. Nesmith looks much more comfortable taking these difficult, contested looks. However, Nesmith’s advantage as a shooter does not put him ahead of Bey. Saddiq Bey’s ability to create shots for others puts him ahead of Nesmith.

Villanova put the ball in Bey’s hands a decent amount during his second season in college ball. The program runs a motion offense which works best when every player can handle the ball. Coach Wright needed Bey to display some playmaking chops and he delivered.

Over the course of the season, Saddiq Bey showed that he was a smooth ball-handler who could create for himself and for his teammates. I watched the game that he played against Georgetown and thought that his handle was tight.

Bey kept the ball close to his body and did not allow the defender to swipe the ball away. He used his frame to shield the ball from the defensive player as he worked his way inside for a look at the rim.

In other film that I have seen of Bey, he has been unselfish when handling the ball. Bey was more than happy to dish the ball to an open teammate when the situation was right. His passing vision was not perfect though; Bey favoured hitting the roll man instead of distributing the ball evenly around the court.

The only real concern that I have about Bey is that he can struggle defending the pick and roll. He was happy defending in isolation but when the pick came into play, he struggled to fight over screens and contest shots.

The pick and roll is a staple of nearly all NBA offenses and he will need to learn how to fight through screens in order to be a great defender in the NBA. As a whole, Bey has shown a lot of promise as a defensive player.

Bey’s fundamentals are rock solid. Saddiq Bey rarely reaches and is light on his feet when guarding another player. Bey uses his length effectively to contain players and force his assignment down blind alleys. He is a player who can feasibly defend 1-4 due to his length and good technical base.

Saddiq was an excellent off-ball defender during his time at Villanova. Bey is active in the passing lanes and uses his length well to deflect the ball away from its intended target. His defensive disruption is a skill that will translate nicely to the NBA game.

Bey’s versatility and well-rounded skill-set will mean that he is one of the safest picks in an NBA Draft that seems pretty shallow. He will not be a Wiseman or Ball but he projects to be a high-level starter on a very good team.

Bey has a good head for the game of basketball mind and a good feel for the game. I have watched a lot of footage of him while researching this article and his feel for the game stood out to me. Bey does little things like making defensive rotations in a timely manner or interpreting space really well.

It is those little things which start to separate players at the NBA level. Oklahoma City have to look closely at Saddiq Bey and Sam Presti has to seriously consider trading up for him. It is a no brainer for me, he is the guy I would take in this Draft.