Villanova’s Saddiq Bey is a three-and-D prospect who brings just a tad more versatility to the table. He has a good chance to be available when the Milwaukee Bucks are projected to be on the clock around 19 or 20. Let’s check out what he’s all about.
Weight: 216 pounds
Per Game Stats:
Outside shooting and perimeter defense are two of the most valuable attributes in the NBA (well, at any level of basketball, really). Villanova’s Saddiq Bey already appears to have the outside shooting portion of the equation figured out; and the potential to become a versatile defender in the world’s best league. After making 37.4 percent of his threes during his freshman season, he made a significant leap this year by splashing 45.1 percent of shots behind the arc. He has more work to do on the defensive end where he isn’t as nimble as you’d like. However, he is an extremely versatile defender—proving he could defend multiple positions in college. These traits alone make him an alluring prospect in this year’s draft.
Spot-up Shooting: Bey will do a lot of damage in the NBA based on his spot-up shooting alone. According to Synergy, he made 46 of his 91 (50.5 percent) three-point attempts when he didn’t take a dribble! He was an off-ball weapon at Villanova, often making defenders pay for supporting their teammates. He does a tremendous job sliding with ball-handlers on penetration and giving them a direct path to his services on the perimeter. Although he’s not one to run around screens to get open looks, he flashed some ability to shoot on the move. Given his height (6’8”) and high release, he doesn’t have much issue shooting with a man in his face; a valuable talent at the next level when the margins are slimmer and windows to shoot are tighter.
Versatility: Don’t get me wrong, Bey is much more than just a spot-up shooter; flashing a lot of versatility on both ends of the court at Villanova. Although he’s not adept, he can hit the occasional pull-up. He also likes to catch in the triple threat, turn and face the basket while hitting his man with a jab step before rising and firing. Against smaller opponents, he’s strong enough to back them down and get close to the hoop as well. Surprisingly, he ran a good amount of pick-and-roll in college—as the ball-handler, not the screener. He’s not explosive enough to beat his man off the bounce, but can use his size advantage to plow into the lane and create decent looks for himself and others. Don’t underestimate his ball-handling and passing. Although he’s not great on defense, he will be able to guard multiple positions in the NBA—wings and smaller forwards. He doesn’t have good lateral quickness, but has length to make up for it. There is a world where he could effectively defend combo guards on switches, but that’s probably the top of the mountain for him.
Dip on Shot: Bey’s height and high release somewhat make up for it, but there’s a clear dip in his shot that causes his release to take just a beat longer than necessary. As you can see in the clip below, despite catching the pass at armpit level he needs to bring the ball down to gather strength and momentum before going up into his shooting form. It wasn’t an issue against college opponents, but could take away precious moments against bigger, more athletic NBA players.
Heavy Feet: He was tasked with diverse assignments at Villanova and had mixed moments throughout. He has good size and appears to have a good wingspan (there’s no official measurement), but moves with lead in his feet. He has a slow first step laterally and is often forced to give ball-handlers space, as he angles to cut them off near the basket. He doesn’t pick up steam once he gets going either, proving to be just as slow on slides three and four as slide one. If he can improve his technique and slide his feet more cleanly, he’ll have better success at defending quicker players.
- Gets a little trigger-happy on threes.
- Above-average passer and vision for his size.
- Slow first step. Doesn’t get to the rim very often.
- Struggles to fight over ball screens; gets caught up on them.
- Plays hard on defense.
- 5’8” as a freshman in high school and 6’1” as a sophomore.
The Bucks need for a wing may grow depending on what happens this offseason—Wesley Matthews has a player option, Pat Connaughton is an unrestricted free agent and Sterling Brown is a restricted free agent. It’s difficult to imagine they keep everyone. No matter what happens with those three players, Bey’s size and skills will be welcomed with arms wide open.
He may be on the slower end for NBA wings, but at 6’8”, he has good size to help combat his physical limitations. He enters the league as a versatile defender immediately capable of guarding bigger wings and smaller forwards. If he can improve his lateral quickness, one of his biggest weakness, he’ll be able to defend all wings and even some combo guards.
His offensive game is equally as diverse and a lot more developed.
He’ll probably never turn into someone who can get his own buckets on a regular basis; his first step is too slow and he doesn’t have the burst or explosiveness in his vertical leap to make up for it.
He does have solid handles for a 6’8” player, likely stemming from his days as a point guard (he was only 5’8” as a freshman in high school). Villanova allowed him to run the pick-and-roll quite a bit and he was fairly effective. He used his body well to hold off defenders and showed good patience and vision to make simple reads.
His bread and butter will be spot-up shooting where he has the potential to turn into a lethal weapon from distance. If everything goes according to plan, he’ll punish teams for leaving him on the perimeter, putting defenders in a conundrum when it comes to help defense.
He’d be a nice fit in Milwaukee where they’d likely use him primarily in the corners at the beginning of his career. There, he’d make defenses pay in bunches when they help on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe and others in the paint. He also has the potential to replace Matthews down the road as the primary wing defender, keeping Khris Middleton free on offense. He’s not the sexiest pick in this year’s class, but he checks the shooting and wing defense boxes teams heavily covet.