Why the Knicks Should Hope Saddiq Bey Falls in the Draft

Kris Pursiainen

My 2020 NBA Draft Profiles:

Guards: Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Maxey, Kira Lewis Jr.

Wings: Deni Avdija, Devin Vassell, Isaac Okoro, Aaron Nesmith, Josh Green

Bigs: Onyeka Okongwu, Obi Toppin, James Wiseman, Aleksej Pokuševski

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Saddiq Bey is a 6'10", 216 pound wing from the University of Villanova. In his sophomore season, Bey posted averages of 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game: with a 58.4 EFG%. Bey, with proper development, will serve as a large 3&D wing who is able to play off the ball as well as impact the game on both offense and defense.

Bey's jumpshot is accurate - as shown by his 45.1% conversion rate from behind the arc - and quick, an aspect of his game that will allow him to space the floor for his teammates. On 5.6 three-point attempts per game, Bey was able to make 2.5 on average; he wasn't shooting the ball with great volume, but he was certainly taking (and making) an encouraging amount of shots from deep. Bey could certainly benefit from a minor re-working of his jumpshot, as his current release point leaves him susceptible to being blocked by NBA big men. 

Off the catch, Bey is impressively versatile for a big man. He knows how to attack the rim when the opportunity presents itself, as well as use his handle or pull up for a jumper. He does have some trouble using his 'weak' hand to dribble, which helps lead to his struggle with creating his own shot attempts. I don't see Bey as being elite in any offensive categories, but his ability to do a bit of it all is certainly encouraging - he's a fairly keen decision maker overall. 

As a playmaker, Bey has displayed mild potential in terms of his ability to initiate pick & rolls - but this ability of his doesn't jump off the screen. His lack of "burst" and, therefore, an explosive first step prevent him from being able to make it past his defender at the speed which is sometimes necessary. 

Bey makes himself useful without the ball, but could use improvement in the "setting screens" department. If the necessary improvements here are made, Bey should be able to unlock the "next level" of his post/inside game.

On defense, Bey is as versatile as he is offensively. He'll be able to guard taller small forwards, power forwards, and even some centers due to his size and ability to move around the court quickly. Even when his man doesn't have the ball, Bey approaches plays with the ferocity and willingness to communicate I would want to see from all of my players if I were a coach. I can only assume Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright played a role in the development of this trait, as numerous Villanova players in the NBA today are strong team defenders - Josh Hart, Kyle Lowry, and Eric Paschall included.

I don’t believe that Bey would be worth the Knicks’ lottery selection in this year‘s draft, but as I said in regards to Arizona's Josh Green, new assistant general manager Walt Perrin is known to not be afraid to trade up if a prospect he likes slips in the draft. If the Knicks were able to utilize their two non-lottery selections and wind up with a mid to late first round pick, I would see B as worth the selection due to his ability to contribute to a contending team on both ends of the floor. 

If the Knicks did end up with Bey, he would provide great spacing and defensive help for the team's core young pieces: RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. His ability to contribute with or without the ball, as well as defend on or off it, make him an asset to any team; the fact that Barrett and Robinson's games are both elevated when surrounded by teammates who can shoot and versatilely assist them defensively only gives the Knicks more of a reason to look into a way to wind up with Saddiq Bey on their squad.

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