Detroit Pistons: Why the Saddiq Bey trade was a good move…or wasn’t

Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) blocks out Detroit Pistons guard Jaden Ivey Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) blocks out Detroit Pistons guard Jaden Ivey Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Pistons, Saddiq Bey
Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons: Why the Saddiq Bey trade was the right move

While James Wiseman is hardly a guaranteed return, there are some reasons why this was a smart move for the Detroit Pistons.

  • Saddiq Bey is not a good defender. Having him and Bojan Bogdanovic on the floor at the same time wasn’t working and has helped lead to the worst defense in team history. To improve the defense in the future, one of them had to go and the Pistons chose to keep the more reliable and efficient Bogdanovic. The Pistons still need wing defenders, but have the draft, free agency and offseason trades to find them.
  • This will open more minutes for Isaiah Livers, who could be one of those wing defenders and is a guy that Weaver is very high on. He’s more of a pure 3-and-D guy, which is what Detroit needs.
  • Bey was not a good fit. As James Edwards III outlined in his breakdown for The Athletic (SUBSCRIPTION), the Pistons were not happy with Bey’s style of play. He was dribbling too much, trying to do too much and was a black hole on offense at times, something I touched on recently. Bey only passed 22 percent of the time on drives and the team was getting fed up with it. This was highlighted by a recent play in which Bey took a wild shot instead of dishing to Jalen Duren for an easy dunk. It was one play yes, but very much symbolic of the problems he had offensively. When Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey are both in the lineup, the Pistons need to surround them with PnR guys and efficient shooters. Bey is neither.

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  • The Pistons clearly weren’t comfortable offering Bey an extension. Saddiq is extension eligible in the offseason and will be looking for a big raise that Detroit clearly didn’t want to give him. He was likely to be seeking something in the Keldon Johnson range, and he just hadn’t done enough to justify that risk in the eyes of the team. Wiseman is far less likely to get such a raise given his limited action so far, though will cost substantially more next season (more on that in a minute). This is another one of those low risk/high reward moves that Troy Weaver loves. If the Pistons wanted to extend Wiseman in the offseason, he’ll be cheaper than Bey.
  • James Wiseman has a higher ceiling. Wiseman was the #2 pick in the same draft Saddiq came out of and the Pistons were reportedly high on him at the time. He’s only played 60 games due to injury and role on a very good Warriors team, but he’s just 21-years-old, and is an athletic 7-footer who really hasn’t gotten to show what he can do. Weaver is hoping that he will flourish in an expanded role and live up to that hype. If he does, he’ll likely be better and cheaper than Bey. The Pistons need more elite talent and Wiseman could be one.
  • Wiseman gives the Pistons’ guards another lob option. You wanted more athletic rim runners for Cade, Killian and Jaden? You got it. Wanted another lob threat? Done.
  • Wiseman is better than a late first-round pick. The Pistons weren’t going to get much for Bey and at best would have walked away with a late first-round pick (if that) or a similarly flawed player, so why not take a flyer on a former #2 pick? You can argue that Wiseman has a better chance of being good than a late first round pick.
  • The Pistons may be building their own version of what Cleveland is doing. The Cavaliers have recently had success with a two-big lineup with the versatile Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. The Pistons needed to get more size and athleticism and could try to do something similar with Wiseman and Duren.
  • No more Kevin Knox! Detroit got rid of some dead weight in the deal and opened up a roster spot that they can use to add a player off the buyout market or in a future trade.

So for all of the vicious complaining last night, this was a move that nets the Detroit Pistons a higher-ceiling player who could be on a more team-friendly deal without changing the overall trajectory of the rebuild.

But I can also understand why some believe this trade was terrible for the Pistons.