Is Saddiq Bey the future power forward for Pistons?

Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Saddiq Bey has been a wing for his entire career but he has suddenly become a rebounding machine for the Detroit Pistons with most of their bigs out of action. Is being a power forward in his future?

It had been pretty easy to slot what position Saddiq Bey should play in the NBA. At 6-foot-7, 215 pounds and with a sweet jump shot, he is a natural small forward.

However, with every regular player taller than 6-foot-8 wiped out by COVID-19 protocols or injury, Bey has had to shoulder a lot of the rebounding lately. Luka Garza, the only true center coach Dwane Casey is using, can not get every board, and Dennis Rodman has not been brought back (yet).

However, Bey has done an Rodman-esque job (we are not saying he is as good as ‘The Worm’) of being an effective rebounder, despite his size. Entering the Pistons game at Milwaukee, Bey is averaging 11 rebounds for the past four games.

In Detroit’s thrilling 117-116 win overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs, Bey dominated on the boards, finishing with 17 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.

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The Spurs started a legitimate center in 7-foot-1 Jakob Poeltl and another seven-footer, Jock Londale, came off the bench, so Bey had to fight some big guys for rebounds.

The Villanova product is certainly not afraid of much taller players. Bey hit the game-winner over Poeltl.

Bey came into this season with his physique obviously more muscular than his rookie season, so he is more capable to bang inside against the big boys.

Because Bey has basically been the Pistons power forward since the rest of the team kind of went bye-bye, he is also guarding opponents who are generally slower than him That is one of the  reasons Bey has been able to get his shot off, despite everyone knowing in the arena that either he or Hamidou Diallo would be taking the shot.

Maybe the makeshift lineups the Pistons have rolled out the past week have unearthed a new position for Bey: that of a small-ball ‘3-and-D’ power forward.

Could Saddiq Bey be the Detroit Pistons new power forward?

Now, Jerami Grant is solidly entrenched as the team’s power forward. He has a contract paying him $20 million a year and an Olympic gold medal, so he is not getting pushed out of the starting lineup.

However, there are many, many, many rumors that have Grant getting traded before the February deadline. If Grant actually goes, Bey could then move into his spot.

Detroit also has a logjam of wings (when everyone is healthy). If Grant is traded, moving Bey to power forward would open up his small forward minutes for Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson and rookies Isaiah Livers and Chris Smith (a two-way player). Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes could also play the ‘3’ at times.

Bey’s outside shooting would draw the other team’s power forward away from the basket, opening up the middle for Cunningham, Hayes and Diallo.

Now, playing the ‘4’ would take an entirely different mindset  for Bey. He has been a small forward his whole career. In college, Bey averaged less than five rebounds.

As a power forward, Bey will need to stick his nose in there and get rebounds, and also guard guys who have a couple of inches and 20-30 pounds on him.

But Bey has shown he can do the job.

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Saddiq Bey’s ability to rebound like a real big man is certainly one of the few positives of the mass disappearance of the Pistons normal roster. What coach Dwane Casey does with it will be something to watch.