In his sophomore season at Villanova, Saddiq Bey established himself as the best collegiate small forward in the nation, winning the coveted Julius Erving award. He is widely considered as one of the premier “3-and-D” prospects in the country, and has set himself up as essentially “a lock” to be drafted in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft.
It’s very unlikely that the local team, the Sixers, could get him, unless they trade up. In fact, the majority of mock drafts have Bey being drafted somewhere between the 10th and 20th picks of the first round.
A player like Bey will be valuable to any NBA team. He will secure a role for himself regardless of where he goes, but there are specific teams that could use his services more than others. Let’s take a look at them.
San Antonio Spurs (11th Pick): Bey is the exact type of player all-time great head coach Gregg Popovich wants on his team. Popovich values versatile defenders and high-character guys — both of which Bey embodies. By adding Bey, San Antonio would improve its promising, young defensive core, which includes players such as Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. His offensive output certainly wouldn’t hurt the Spurs either, as a team can never have enough shooters.
The Spurs have a history of drafting more “NBA-ready” players, and Bey fits this mold as well. He would immediately be able to step into a sizable role off the bench, or perhaps even a starting spot should the team decide to trade DeMar DeRozan.
Sacramento Kings (12th Pick): There have been many mock drafts sending Bey to Sacramento, and for good reasons. Currently, the Kings have Harrison Barnes and Kent Bazemore as their primary small forwards. Additionally, they have been heavily rumored to have SG Buddy Hield on the trading block this offseason. Thus, the Kings could use some more shooting, which Bey certainly provides. Sacramento has a history of drafting more “raw,” younger prospects, but with new front office leadership, perhaps this year they will go in a different direction.
New Orleans Pelicans (13th Pick): Bey and Zion Williamson? Now that duo would be interesting. In all seriousness, Bey would make a fantastic addition to the Pelicans, potentially stepping into a sixth man role as a rookie and joining fellow Villanova alum Josh Hart in the team’s rotation. The Pelicans were not regarded as a good defensive team last season, with their only true impact defenders being Hart and Jrue Holiday, who they may explore trading this offseason.
Of course, Bey can help them with that. New Orleans has a bright future ahead, with a promising young rotation, but when you look at the rotation, one of the greatest needs is a player who can play in a sixth or seventh man role, backing up both small forward Brandon Ingram and Williamson. Bey would be able to do that, and of course, he has the potential for an even greater role.
Portland Trail Blazers (16th Pick): The Trail Blazers are growing old at the wing spot. Carmelo Anthony is a free agent and Trevor Ariza is a veteran whose body has taken a beating over the course of his career. The only young option at the wing is Rodney Hood, who has looked promising, but is coming off of a torn achilles. Portland needs help at the forward spot, and Bey can provide that help.
The team is also trying to win now. Bey is an immediate-impact player, so he fits with them in that sense as well. Lastly, the Trail Blazers gave up the second-highest opponent three-point percentage in the league, so they could use some defensive versatility, which Bey provides. For me, Portland is the best fit for Bey in the draft. For that reason, I don’t see him dropping past them at the 16th pick.
Dallas Mavericks (18th Pick): If Bey somehow gets past Portland, I definitely don’t see him dropping below the Mavericks, who already have Villanova alum Jalen Brunson on the roster. If Tim Hardaway Jr. were to decline his player option and become a free agent, the wing spot would become a clear need for Dallas, but even if they were to re-sign him, Bey is a great fit for the team. Players such as Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry and Luka Doncic, who have sizable roles in the offense, are not regarded as above-average defenders. Really, the only above-average defender Dallas has is small forward Dorian Finney-Smith, but he can’t provide much on the offensive end. Bey can give Dallas the defensive help it needs, all the while being a plus on the offensive side of the ball.
We will see where Bey is drafted on Nov. 18. Regardless, there is no doubt that wherever he is drafted, he is going to have a long and successful NBA career.