In these frustratingly uncertain of times, writing about something like basketball seems pretty trivial. We all have more questions than there seems to be answers for: questions related to health concerns, distancing concerns, political concerns, economic concerns - you name it. Questions about sports (as in “if/when they are even coming back in the summer, fall, or beyond. *Editor’s note: We’re back July 31st) in our society are pretty low on the list of important or prioritized concerns at the moment.
But this is a professional basketball blog; I’m not here (because I’m nowhere near equipped nor qualified) to even attempt to try and tackle the unprecedented problems the world currently faces. We’re here for you at Orlando Pinstriped Post to try and provide a short-term getaway/distraction in any way that we can.
For me, that’s talking the NBA Draft. It goes without saying that the process leading up to the NBA Draft this year will be unlike any other players, agents, scouts, and league executives have ever experienced. With travel basically coming to a halt, teams likely won’t have the benefit of bringing prospects in for workouts/interviews. Advanced scouting (through March) and film-study appear to be avenues teams will have to heavily rely upon with this draft.
I mean, at this point, we don’t even know if there will be an NBA Draft in June (could it possibly be postponed, re-scheduled? *Editor’s note: the NBA announced the draft will be held on November 18th). Without the information or guidance to answer many of these basketball related questions, I’m going to push forward with scouting reports of players in this class that could be available when the Magic pick in the first round of the ‘20 NBA Draft.
I will be putting these reports together over the next couple of months (and possibly longer), which include loose NBA comparisons for each prospect, film observations, talking points, a case for the Magic needing/drafting the prospect, and more. Up next in the series is a second-year prospect out of Villanova University, forward Saddiq Bey.
Probably won’t happen: Tobias Harris (Harris has more of an ability to create off the dribble, one-on-one)
Possibly could happen: Robert Covington, DeMarre Carroll, Jae Crowder
Eye in the sky
-Strong player, uses wide shoulders to muscle around smaller wing defenders at collegiate level
-Soft touch on his perimeter jump-shot, solid base and lower-half fundamentals leading into his shot
-Fits the profile of a prototypical “3 & D” wing prospect
-Quick release on his jumper, although the release point is a little strange (seems to shoot it from a low release-point, out in front of his body)
-Doesn’t profile as an elite athlete, but his basketball instincts/awareness make up for a lack of overall explosiveness
-Basketball IQ shows on film in a multitude of ways: as an off-ball cutter, on the offensive boards, attacking hard closeouts with a pump-fake and go, low turnover rate, even as a pick-and-roll initiator (at times)
-Has the ability to become a two-position defender, especially the way the league is trending towards playing smaller
-Good communicator on defense, intelligent team defender
-Profiles as a player with elite role-player upside
Bets films of the season
1/11 vs. Georgetown: 33 points (10-15 FGA’s, 8-10 3PTA’s)
2/5 vs. Butler: 29 points (11-20 FGA’s, 5-8 3PTA’s), 6 rebounds
Resume & By the numbers
- Big East All-Freshmen Team (‘18-’19)
- 1st Team All Big East (‘19-’20)
- Wooden Award Finalist (2020)
- Led the Big East in three-point percentage in ‘20 (45.1% on 151 three-point attempts)
- Played at DeMatha Catholic his freshmen year before transferring to Sidwell Friends School, where he won a Maryland State Championship as a junior (2017). Grew nine inches in high school.
- Made 4+ three-point field goals in a single contest ten times this past season
- Scored 20+ points in a single contest eleven times over the course of his sophomore season
1) Emerging offensive game
It’s no secret to those that follow the college game closely; Bey took a huge leap from his freshmen to his sophomore season at Villanova.
The D.C. product showed flashes during his freshmen season (16 points and 10 rebounds at Madison Square Garden in the 2019 Big East Championship), but often deferred to more veteran players such as Phil Booth, Eric Paschall, and Collin Gillespie.
Bey came back to Villanova his sophomore season as a man on a mission. He took more of a lead role in the Wildcats’ offense, often finishing plays by creating when things were breaking down. Bey was even counted upon to initiate offense at times, leading pick-and-roll offense and even bringing the ball up the floor some.
This is a young man that improved, from Year 1 to Year 2, his player efficiency rating (PER from 15.7 to 21.6), true shooting percentage (57 percent to 61 percent), assist percentage (8.6 percent to 14.9 percent), offensive box plus/minus (from 3.6 to 6.2), and win shares per/40 minutes (from .134 to .188).
With a career usage rate of just under 19 percent over 67 career contest, Bey found a way to connect on 41.8 percent of his three-point attempts. The volume was there for the wing forward (306 career attempts, 5.8 3PTA’s per/40), as was the shot versatility (coming off screens, off the dribble, in spot-up situations, off pump-fake/ one-dribble combinations, etc.).
Making a case for the Magic to draft Saddiq Bey in the ‘20 draft
|With D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams set to hit free agency this summer,
would Bey provide the Magic with needed depth at the point guard position?
With Evan Fournier's decision to possibly opt out of his contract and become an
unrestricted free agent this summer looming, would Bey provide the Magic
with needed depth at a wing position?
|The Magic ranked 28th in the league in eFG% last season, 27th in scoring, 27th
in field goal percentage, 25th in three-point field goal percentage, and 24th in
Offensive Rating. Could Bey potentially help the Magic in any of these areas?
|Does Bey fit the Jeff Weltman/John Hammond archetype?||Possibly|
Would selecting Bey in the middle of the first round be considered a
Through the three drafts that Orlando’s current executive team has been in charge (led by Jeff Weltman: President of Basketball Operations, John Hammond: General Manager), the Magic have been painstakingly predictable with the type of players they’ve targeted. Weltman and Hammond value character first and foremost. They also seem to be infatuated with wingspan/length (Isaac, Iwundu, Bamba, Frazier Jr., Okeke) and defensive positional versatility (maybe not Bamba so much, but holds true for the other guys).
I put together a Magic-specific draft checklist above, and drafting Saddiq Bey would help Orlando address a few areas of need. First of all, the Magic will likely need to bring in a point guard (or two) in the off-season due to the fact that both of their current back-up point guards will be free agents at the conclusion of this season. The organization can address this probable need through the draft, or possibly through free agency (mid-level exception). Secondly, the Magic could find themselves a little thin on the wing if potential free agent Evan Fournier decides to opt out of the final year of his current contract.
While I don’t think Bey is ready to play 30-35 minutes as an NBA starting small forward just yet, I do think he could provide the Magic some depth in an area of potential need. Remember, besides Fournier’s impending decision, the Magic also have decisions to make on Wes Iwundu (potential restricted free agent) and Melvin Frazier Jr. (Orlando holds a team option), not to mention starting small forward James Ennis’ player option for the 2020-21 season.
On one hand, Bey somewhat fits the profile of the kind of prospect Orlando has targeted under Weltman and Hammond: a college player from an established program who offers the potential to provide the organization with positional versatility. On the other hand, Bey’s shooting and overall offensive awareness is way ahead of where other prospects Orlando has drafted recently out of college were. The Magic tend to value positional size and length, banking on the fact that shooting can come later in a player’s career. Bey doesn’t necessarily fit that draft profile (for me).
Bey is a prospect that is well-positioned on multiple industry respected big boards to potentially be in play for the Magic at #15. Sam Vecenie (The Athletic) lists Bey 15th on his latest board (October 2nd), and Jeremy Woo (Sports Illustrated) has the Maryland forward coming off the board 14th in his latest mock draft (October 17th). Kevin O’Connor (The Ringer) ranks Bey inside his top-20 in this class (eighteenth overall), and ESPN currently lists the Villanova forward as the 17th “best prospect available” in this draft class.
You can never have enough scoring threats on your roster in today’s modern NBA. Bey has shown that he can score off the bounce, that he possesses range that fits contemporary offensive schemes, and that he can make the necessary passes to keep the team’s offense moving (and productive). It’s a joy to watch Saddiq Bey play on offense; I find that modern Villanova players enter the NBA with ample preparation and readiness for the NBA game, attributed largely to the style of offense they utilize under Jay Wright. If Bey’s defensive contributions can hold-up, I feel he can be a plus-player that fits perfectly into a prototypical “3 & D” role for a team.
Aaron Goldstone has been writing for Orlando Pinstriped Post since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @AaronGoldstone.
You can also find his scouting reports of Kira Lewis Jr., R.J. Hampton, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, Theo Maledon, Tyrese Maxey, Cole Anthony, and Tyrell Terry here.