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Looking to surround Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid with elite outside shooting? This 6’8 forward prospect from Villanova is one of the best shooters in the NBA Draft. What does Saddiq Bey bring to the table at the next level? How does he fit with the Philadelphia 76ers? Let’s get it.

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Overview

According to Rivals, Saddiq Bey was a 4-star small forward recruit coming out of Sidwell Friends in Maryland. If Sidwell Friends sounds familiar then you’re correct. Josh Hart, former Wildcat and 2016 National Champion with the Wildcats, also went to Sidwell Friends. Bey received offers from Davison, Florida and Georgetown and had initially signed with North Carolina State. After a mutual decision to part ways, Saddiq Bey committed to Villanova in June 2018.

Despite being the lowest ranked recruit on the team, Saddiq Bey was one of the best freshmen on the Villanova Wildcats. He started 17 games and led all freshmen in games, minutes per game, scoring, assists and steals. He was 4th on the team in scoring, averaging 8.2 points on just 6.6 field goal attempts per game. Bey’s strong performance named him to the 2018-19 Big East All-Freshman team.

A sophomore season to remember…

Saddiq Bey showed real improvement and progression in his game between his freshman and sophomore seasons. He was a unanimous All-Big East selection and named a finalist for the Julius Erving Award and on the ballot for the John R. Wooden Award. He averaged 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Saddiq Bey is an elite fit for the Sixers in the NBA Draft and let’s take a look at what Saddiq Bey brings to the table.

Strengths

  • A phenomenal shooter: This scouting report begins and ends with Bey’s outside shooting. This is one of the best shooting prospects in the draft. Bey shot 45.1% from 3 with a true shooting percentage of 60.8% as a sophomore at Villanova. He took 6 three-point attempts per game as a sophomore and shot 37.4% from 3 on 131 attempts as a freshman. Bey’s 45.1 three-point percentage was tops in the Big East and #4 in the entire NCAA. He had the 4th most three-point field goals made and the 4th highest true shooting percentage in the Big East.
  • An efficient offensive scorer: Saddiq Bey can get buckets in a myriad of ways. He has a quick release that allows him to light it up from beyond the arc. Bey has a variety of offensive moves that will allow him to excel at the next level. Pull up from mid-range? Check. Thrive in the catch and shoot? Check. Abuse mismatches in the post? Check. There isn’t much Saddiq Bey can’t do with or without the ball in his hands.
  • A pick and roll weapon: Beyond being a very good shooter and scorer, Bey is a solid finisher around the rim and shows real flashes of becoming a weapon in the pick and roll. He’s got the size of a wing but plays like a point guard. He averaged .984 points per possession in the pick and roll as he can make the defender pay in a myriad of ways. He can pull up from mid-range, shoot over the screen or turn on the jets and get to the basket.
  • Defensive versatility: Saddiq Bey offers some positional versatility and should be able to defend 3s and 4s in the NBA. Bey’s lack of elite athleticism makes him somewhat limited as a true defensive stopper, but he’s got the size and length to be an above average defender in the NBA. Saddiq Bey showed real ability to defend on the perimeter and made several key defensive stops as a sophomore.

Weaknesses

  • Limited athleticism: Bey doesn’t have the first step or burst you would like to see from an NBA wing.
  • Weak on ball defender: Saddiq Bey should never be expected to defend the elite wings at the next level.
  • Not a shot creator: Bey can have poor shot selection and doesn’t possess the handle to get buckets with the ball in his hands.
  • Not a good rebounder: Don’t expect Bey to make an impact on the boards when he steps on an NBA court.

Film Highlight

Saddiq Bey’s size, length and quick release allows him to be deadly from beyond the arc. Here is a look at Bey’s shooting stroke. Saddiq Bey improved his shooting from 37% as a freshman to 45.% as a sophomore.

Saddiq Bey has a diverse skill set on offense. He shot 41.8% from 3 on 306 attempts during his career at Villanova. How many players on the Sixers can make that shot above?

Saddiq Bey does not possess the lateral quickness to keep up with the elite forwards at the next level. While he may be a 3&D prospect, it will likely take time for Bey to grow as an NBA defender.

Here is a highlight reel of Saddiq Bey’s career night vs Georgetown. He shot 8-10 from 3 and poured in 33 points, a career high. This is a very good example of what Bey brings to the Sixers. He thrives in the catch and shoot, can pull up from anywhere on the court and loves to get others involved on offense.

Saddiq Bey’s ability in the catch and shoot makes him a perfect fit next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Possible Fit with the Philadelphia 76ers

Enough has been said about the lack of shooting surrounding Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Sixers are about as average as it gets in terms of spacing the court. The Sixers offense is at its best when the ball is moving, the tempo is up and the defense is creating points off turnovers. While I don’t think you should expect Bey to defend guards in the pick and roll, scoring off the ball is an area where Saddiq Bey should thrive.  

Beyond the outside shooting, what makes Bey such an interesting fit with the Philadelphia 76ers is his ability to run a pick and roll. Despite having a 22.8 usage percentage as a sophomore, his 14.9 assist percentage and low 1.6 turnovers per 36 minutes make him a really intriguing fit. Bey’s combination of shooting, mid-range game, handles and ability to finish around the basket makes him a prime threat in the pick and roll at the next level.

Then we get to playmaking. Outside of Ben Simmons and Shake Milton, the Sixers lack true playmakers on the court. If the season resumes (and I don’t think it will), I’d expect to see Alec Burks and Al Horford facilitate the offense when Ben Simmons or Shake Milton are on the bench. Bey’s outside shooting, knack for team defense and diverse offensive skillset could make him a viable replacement for Alec Burks leading the pick and roll offense off the bench next season.

But wait… didn’t we just draft a forward?

And then the next logical question: didn’t the Sixers just trade up into the first round for a wing in Matisse Thybulle during last year’s draft? It’s well known that Matisse hit a rookie wall, but his unique defensive versatility and perimeter defense truly allowed Ben Simmons’ versatility to shine. He’s an incredible defensive prospect moving forward and we should all expect his shooting numbers to eventually increase. Moving forward, Saddiq Bey could be the ying to Matisse Thybulle’s yang.

I’m really intrigued in the Thybulle-Bey duo off the bench next season. Lack of depth really hurt the Sixers this season, especially offensively. Whether or not Brett Brown comes back (I also don’t think he will), Bey fits the mold of the modern NBA. Matisse and Bey are capable in the catch and shoot, can defend multiple positions and would look great in a small ball lineup.

Stat Nuggets

  • Bey’s offensive efficiency needs to be noted. He had the 3rd highest offensive rating in the Big East at 121 and the 2nd best offensive box plus/minus at 6.8.
  • Saddiq Bey thrives in the catch and shoot. According to Zachary Cohen of Forbes, Bey averages 1.425 points per possession in catch-and-shoot situations in the half court, which is ranks in the 97th percentile in all of college basketball.
  • Saddiq Bey was an offensive weapon for the Wildcats, scoring 20 or more points in 11 of 31 games last season.
  • Per Hoop-Math, Saddiq Bey converted on 62.9% of his scoring chances at the rim.

Final Thoughts

Saddiq Bey projects as an off the bench, rotational player in the NBA. The team that drafts him will need to utilize his strengths by getting him involved in the appropriate offense. In terms of fit with the Philadelphia 76ers, Saddiq Bey is one of the best in this year’s draft class. This is a prime target in the first round should he fall to the Sixers at #22. The Sixers also have two high second round picks in this year’s draft and I’d be very much in favor of a slight trade up to get it done. The Sixers add consistent threats on the perimeter as well as guys who can be playmakers in the pick and roll. Saddiq Bey checks all of these boxes and then some.

For everything Sixers and the NBA Draft, please be sure to follow us on Twitter @BlueRouteTPL. Also feel free to check out our previous video breakdown on Sixers draft target Jalen Smith.