Saddiq Bey can be the next Villanova Wildcat to carve out a successful role as a 3-and-D player if he’s selected by the San Antonio Spurs
Whether it’s Devin Vassell or Jaden McDaniels, numerous wing prospects would be great selections for the San Antonio Spurs in the 2020 NBA Draft. One player who has quickly risen up draft boards is Saddiq Bey from Villanova University.
As the coach of one of the most consistent programs in the nation, Jay Wright has done an excellent job preparing his players for the transition to the NBA. It’s part of what makes him such an appealing candidate for an NBA job someday. You don’t have to look too hard around the league to see Wildcat alums making an impact on their teams.
Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, and Eric Paschall all play hard, defend well for their positions, and play comfortably within their role. These are hallmarks of Villanova players over the past few years and Saddiq Bey exemplifies all of them.
Following in the footsteps of Hart and Mikal Bridges, Bey took home the Julius Erving Award as the nation’s top small forward following his impressive sophomore season. A First-Team All-Big East team member, Bey averaged 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game this year.
One of Bey’s most appealing traits as a player, especially for the San Antonio Spurs, is his ability to shoot the skin off the ball from deep. He was the fourth most accurate 3-point shooter in the nation this year, canning an incredibly impressive 45.1 percent of his 3-pointers. On a Spurs team that is desperate for long-range shooting, Bey could quickly step in as a consistent 3-point threat.
He has no issue letting it go from well beyond NCAA 3-point range either. The jump from the college line to the NBA distance can be a slight hiccup for some players to overcome but it doesn’t seem like that will be an issue for Bey.
One thing that could end up being a concern for teams interested in Bey is his low release. It wasn’t an issue for him at the college level but in the NBA where players and closeouts come at you in a split-second, it could give him problems. This is made even more worrisome by his slow first step when attacking a closeout.
He played point guard in high school before a growth spurt sent him rocketing up towards 6’8 so he does have a nice handle and makes the right reads but he’s not quick. Even when he does get the advantage on a defender they were frequently able to recover and get back to him before he could get to the rim.
While this is problematic it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for the Spurs or any other team that is interested in him. His incredible potential as a 3-point threat, combined with his experience as a point guard and relatively low turnover numbers, make his slow step a price you’re willing to pay given everything else he brings to the table.
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As a 3-and-D prospect, we have to focus on what Bey brings on the other end of the floor. Wright’s teams always switch a lot so Bey got plenty of experience rotating between guards and forwards in his two years at Villanova. He was the Wildcats’ best defender and frequently asked to cover the opposing team’s best player.
He’s got a great combination of size and quickness that will help him be a solid defender at the NBA level. We’ve talked about how much defensive potential the young Spurs have shown. Bey can be the next addition to a group that can be one of the better defensive units in the league.
He weighs in at an impressive 216 pounds and is fairly ripped. He’s solidly built and isn’t shy about throwing his weight around down low. His rebounding numbers aren’t particularly impressive, he only brought down 9.1 percent of available rebounds across his two years in Philly. But watch the tape and you’ll frequently see him flying in for put-back opportunities over bigger players.
There will be pressure for the Spurs to shoot for the moon given that they’ll be drafting higher than they have in over twenty years but they could do a lot worse than Saddiq Bey. Bey’s all-around offensive game, his lights out 3-point shooting ability, and his defensive versatility make him a very safe pick for San Antonio. Add in Villanova’s recent track record of sending solid role players to the NBA and there are very few reasons not to select him.
Depending on how the draft lottery eventually shakes out, the Spurs look to be drafting around pick 11-13. That’s a bit higher than where Bey is projected to go right now but it would give them a chance to trade pack and pick up another second-round pick or fringe prospect if that’s what they want to do.
He might not end up being an All-Star level player but Saddiq Bey fits a position of need and is about as low-risk of a prospect as you will find in the 2020 Draft. The San Antonio Spurs need to do their due diligence and have their eyes on him.