Saddiq Bey had a phenomenally successful rookie season for the Detroit Pistons. The 19th pick in the NBA Draft earned first-team All-Rookie honors, nailed 38% of his 3-pointers on high volume, played quality defense, and seemed to have a sense of the game and a maturity beyond his years. This offseason, debate raged among fans about He quickly became a popular topic of conversation for Pistons fans this offseason with conversations centered on “best NBA player comp” and his ultimate ceiling. Depending on who you talked to, Saddiq could become anything from a 3-and-D role player to an All-Star in the mold of Khris Middleton (one of the favorite comps among fans).
All offseason, I leaned more toward him being a very valuable 3-and-D player because I questioned his ability to effectively make reads and create open opportunities for his teammates. Through some combination of a tremendous amount of film work, growing his skill base, and the game simply slowing down for him, Bey has shown he could be more than a 3-and-D guy. And I will happily admit that Bey has proven me wrong.
I went into this breakdown expecting to solely highlight this improved vision, level of creation and confidence. However, as I watched and rewatched film, there were other aspects of his game I felt compelled to break down as well, including his ability to attack the rim and also a surprising habit of turning down open shots.
Improved: Creating and Passing
Creating and passing is an area I am extremely impressed to see the growth Saddiq has shown. When looking at this skill set, I am not only talking about making simple or easy reads. As you will see in the breakdown, he is making the second or third read, seeing the help defenders, and getting the ball where it needs to go. As with everything, there is still room for improvement as the passes are not always thrown with the necessary velocity, and as teams continue to give him more attention in the mid-post and ball screen situations, he will have to figure out how to play through those extra defenders.
Keep an Eye On: Finishing at the Rim
An area of Bey’s game that I am not sure we can say has improved yet but I want to keep an eye on is his finishing around the rim. I think we have seen an improved willingness to take more shots in this scenario, almost 3x if my math is right and he stays on the pace he has set through nine games. For Saddiq, I do not know that right now it is about increasing the number of different finishes he has in the lane (something I broke down with Killian Hayes) but just becoming more efficient and confident with what he is currently using.
Something That Surprised Me: Turning Down Shots and Pull Up Jumpers
This was absolutely not something I was anticipating I would be writing about or breaking down when I started this breakdown. The confidence Bey had shown through the first games this season, and even to games last year as a rookie, did not lend me to believe I would ever have to be writing to ask him to SHOOT MORE! It has just been a few games and a handful of plays, but, again, it was something that took me off guard so I thought it was worth including in the breakdown. I also look at the shot fake > pull-up jump shot that I would love to see him go to more.
I am very excited to see the improvement we have seen from Saddiq Bey in his creation for others and I can not wait to see how else he will improve and grow in his 2nd year and beyond.