For the next several weeks on every Thursday, Denver Stiffs writers will be putting together a combination of individual player profiles, lists, big boards, mock drafts, and other NBA Draft related content to help Nuggets fans become familiar with the 2020 draft class. With the class being fairly light on high end talent, players could have wide ranges based on team needs, and a player the Nuggets may think is a top 5 player in the class could spiral out of the lottery fairly quickly. That means Nuggets fans have to be prepared for every scenario, meaning we at Denver Stiffs are getting an early start on draft content.
Here are the draft profiles so far:
Saddiq Bey - Villanova University
Weight: 218 lbs
Wingspan: 6’10” (unofficial)
Per Game Stats
Spot-up shooting. Bey played as a small-ball power forward for the Wildcats, and was able to help stretch the floor as a 45-percent 3-point shooter last season. With 90-percent of his 3-point makes coming off a pass, he’s reliant on his teammates to find him open so he can get off a clean look. He has really nice form, and with his height, gets off a clean jumper when his feet are set. He can shoot coming off screens, floating to the corner, and set up on the wing. Bey made 46 of his 91 (50.5 percent) 3-point attempts when he attempted a shot without taking a dribble, according to Synergy Stats.
Basketball IQ. I didn’t want to say “playmaking” here, because that’s not the best term to describe what he does with the ball in his hands (we’ll address that in weaknesses). However, he was asked to do more off the dribble this last season by Villanova head coach Jay Wright, and he responded well. He has the intelligence to read defenses and throw the ball to an open teammate as a result of a rotation. He knows how to run plays, and where he should be to help create optimal floor spacing as a result of his teammates’ actions. On a team where Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Will Barton are going to be able to get shots off the dribble, Bey can be a threat to score if the defense leaves him open at the 3-point line, which allows him to conserve more of his energy for the defensive end of the court.
Defense. As I mentioned, Bey played power forward last season, with the Wildcats running a switch-heavy scheme with their starting lineup lacking a rim protector. That meant that Bey wound up having to square up opponents in the post often, while switching onto guards as the offense looked to create mismatches. He was adept at navigating around screens, chasing shooters to the corners. I liked seeing him put his butt into guys as a rebounder, knowing that he didn’t have a big man to help suck in missed shots if he didn’t keep his guy away from the rim. As the NBA gets smaller, it will become more and more important for wings to be good rebounders to finish defensive possessions.
Old man game. Bey attacks defenders off the dribble like Paul Millsap does now — slowly. He doesn’t blow past defenders, and even after he gets them off balance, he’s not able to maintain that advantage to create plays. While he possesses the ability to find open teammates, and did so last season, it’s not something that he can take into the NBA immediately. His old man game on offense means he’s going to be best when he can catch his defenders getting distracted, attacking poor closeouts, and utilizing pump fakes inside near the rim. He’s not going to be using his athleticism to wow anybody on offense like a Jerami Grant or Michael Porter Jr.
Scalability. Bey was given more responsibility last season due to the departure of Phil Booth, who was the initiator for the offense last season. He had to play a bigger role on defense due to the departure of Eric Paschall, who was a better defender than he was. While he looked good against college defenders, I think it’s a fair question to ask if he’s going to be able to take another step in order to have the same kind of efficiency in the NBA. While there are shades of a player like Wes Matthews Jr. in his game, there’s a chance he is more like Denzel Valentine.
Bey is a nice 3&D prospect, and there’s a good history of Villanova prospects making it as role players lately. He has good NBA size, and he’s a skilled shooter. I think there are questions about his ability to check guards in the NBA, which means he’s limited to checking forwards. He’s not likely to be much more than a spot-up shooter, and I don’t see a guy that could play in the short corner as an offensive rebounder. He doesn’t have the ceiling of a player like Aaron Nesmith, but I don’t think his floor is as low. At worst he’s a larger version of Torrey Craig, with a more reliable 3-point shot.
In my opinion, the Nuggets really need a player that is better suited to guarding 1-3, not 3-4. I think Bey would be a fine consolation prize if they miss out on other prospects, but he doesn’t check off as many boxes as other prospects do for me.