Saddiq Bey emerges as most intriguing Piston in new season
There’s no shortage of players Detroit Pistons fans are emotionally invested in, some would say spiritually. There is of course number 1 in the overall standings, Cade Cunningham, who has yet to make his Pistons debut. There’s the enigma of Killian Hayes and his lack of insult. Hell, there is even a personality cult around the second-round pick Luka Garza.
Perhaps it is fitting that the quiet, purely business-like Saddiq Bey flew under the radar. Calling his game professional doesn’t do justice to his constant approach to basketball.
And while Bey is the same player with the same behavior that we expect, his game looks a little different. Bey scores in different ways in different places on the floor. He wants to drive to the sidelines, find open teammates and isn’t afraid to use his body and solid footwork to push everyone back on the post. This is a far cry from the effective and one-dimensional three-point threat from his rookie season.
In Detroit’s debut season, Bey scored 13 points but took 15 shots. He missed all four of his 3-pointers. But when you looked at the game, it was difficult not to be impressed and excited about how Saddiq’s game was developing.
The diversity not only makes Bey a more dangerous player, it is also a necessity for the opponent’s game plan as one of the team’s deadliest 3-point threats.
“I think the difference between last year and this year is not surprising for the teams. Their closings are scheduled by the game. You know him and his game very well, “said Dwane Casey after the game,” Now he’s going to plan B. “
Plan B, it turns out, is pretty effective. He has shown that he is comfortable with the ball in his hands and can do some pick and roll action. This is one of four assists he has had against the Bulls with the most quick reactions after defensive close-outs on the 3-point line.
Bey only had four or more assists five times last season. And he only managed that seven times in his two years at Villanova.
He also used what the defense gave him. I love this possession on the post because it takes advantage of its size advantage over Lonzo Ball with an efficient, confident move on the post that gives him a clean view of the edge. His dribbling is a bit loose that the teams could take advantage of, but all the other elements are there. He uses his strength, footwork, and balance to take full advantage of the situation.
Last season, Saddiq took 4.3% of his ownership and in the 42nd percentile, according to NBA.com. He scored almost half the time and rarely came to the free-throw line. Last year he mostly relied on stepbacks, but if he can add more downhill attacks to the rim it could make him really dangerous.
Make no mistake about it, Bey’s greatest asset is his ability to catch and shoot. He can’t forget the thrust his perimeter shot gives the offense. Also, I have no doubt that a player who shot it at high volume in college at 41% and in the NBA at 38% will start hitting those deep balls again.
But by adding just that little bit of playmaking skill, that threat of abusing smaller defenders in the post, and the threat of scoring efficiently on three levels, he becomes a more dangerous 3-point threat, and overall a more dangerous player.
The defense has to think of more than just running Bey away from the 3-point line, and his teammates are more likely to be encouraged to move without the ball and use it with screen and roll actions and during the break.
“I thought Saddiq was one of our best pick and roll players last night,” Casey said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “We don’t want to twist it, he’s a goalscorer. Not only is he a 3 point shooter, he can drop pick and rolls and post with his size and strength. And that’s his development as an offensive player. I love Saddiq, he’s one of our most consistent players. “
Quiet. Consistent. Dangerous. I’m curious to see what the second year of the Saddiq Bey experience looks like.