Saddiq Bey’s future with Detroit Pistons coming into focus

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 19: Saddiq Bey #41 of the Villanova Wildcats shoots a three point basket. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 19: Saddiq Bey #41 of the Villanova Wildcats shoots a three point basket. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The NBA draft’s 19th overall pick, Saddiq Bey was billed as one of the more pro ready prospects in the draft. In his limited time, he’s already showing his fit in the league.

Saddiq Bey was drafted by the Detroit Pistons as the 19th overall selection this past November. While the Pistons path to acquiring the pick was, questionable, to say the least, as they effectively traded Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, and three second round picks to get him.

The player himself was cause for exciting vibes around the team.

Bey’s well-rounded game, and coming from a Villanova collegiate program that is on a great roll, had many people excited about what he could do. He was also billed as one of the more NBA ready prospects in the draft.

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Bey’s hard-working, overachieving attitude surely appealed to the Pistons.

New General Manager Troy Weaver has made it abundantly clear he wants to build a strong culture foundation, and Bey fits that. The 6-foot-8  forward/guard was billed as a guy who is an overachiever in comparison to his athleticism and potential as a college player.

As a pro, despite being seen as fairly NBA ready, with his combination of size, skill, and maturity, there were still questions.

His shooting form is a little bit goofy, even though it worked well in college. He’s a sub-par athlete (by NBA standards), which could lead to trouble on defense, and, despite all the skill, he’s still pretty young (21 years old).

A couple of weeks into the season, though, a lot of things have become clear for Bey. The defense is hit or miss, but he’s shown how his discipline and size can make him a plus. His shot is falling from deep.

This makes for a fairly easy comparison as to the path for his NBA career. He’s Langston Galloway but way bigger.

A couple of things here, since some people probably just scoffed.

  1. Langston Galloway, as a viable NBA player who is in his seventh year is solid value for a non-lottery pick. Once you get out of the lottery it is such a crap shoot, that you mostly hope they can play a little.
  2. Galloway’s biggest flaw has always been that he has a wing skill-set, but is undersized (6-1) as a wing.

Basically, despite that people are really high on Bey, Langston Galloway would be a nice outcome for his draft position. Galloway, but big, is Langston, but way better.

For instance, the lack of size is the main reason Galloway can’t really work as a starter. He’s not nearly good enough of a ball handler to be a starting point guard, and his lack of size creates a big hole in your defense if he’s an off-guard.

Off the bench, both of those issues are far easier to cover up. The thing with Bey is, that no one will try and pigeon-hole him as a point guard, because he’s huge, so you just play him on the wing. He may still fit better as a bench guy long-term, but he has much better prospects as a starter than Galloway ever did.

But the basic style of his game, and the role he plays. is already so similar to that of Galloway.

He may lack the athleticism and ball-handling to be much of a creator, or ballhandler. (Bey is shooting just 18% inside the arc so far) But he is a fearless shooter, who will pull the trigger anytime he has space. When he doesn’t have the ball he will move and be useful.

Defensively, there is a lot of similarities as well. Ironically, Galloway went to college at St. Joseph’s University, Villanova’s arch-rival. His college coach was Phil Martelli, currently an assistant to Juwan Howard at Michigan.

Bey, like Galloway, isn’t a great athlete but, with a combination of huge wing-span, effort, and smarts, can grind their way to being at least a net-neutral on that end.

And in this case, Bey’s size gives him the chance to be a positive. Even if he isn’t going to be some sort of wing stopper, or make the defense a lot better, he will do his job and help the overall integrity of the defense.

The long-term question will then appear to be: how many shots will Bey hit? Galloway has been around 37% from ‘3’ his whole career, a good mark for such a high-volume shooter. But if Bey stays above 40%, at this volume (which he has so far), then he may enter elite territory.

I don’t want to go there yet. Fans getting their expectations for young players too high is often a problem.

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But it is already clear that Bey will have a role in this league as a spark-plug gunner from deep who will at least not make you worse on defense. It’s great to see, given that a lot of guys drafted in his range never make it in the league.