As we await the finalization of the breakup between the Detroit Pistons and Blake Griffin, the Pistons youngsters try to both bid a classy farewell to Blake, and show fans that there’s a serious youth movement determined to fill the void left by Griffin. Yesterday, Saddiq Bey took current command of the movement by earning the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
It’s only a second time in franchise history that a rookie has won the honor. In March of 1982, Kelly Tripucka become the first Detroit player to do so. Now Saddiq joins him by virtue of four games last week where he averaged 17.8 PPG (on 71.4/69.6/71.4 shooting), 5.5 RPG, 2 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 TOs, and helped propel Detroit to a 3-1 record.
The 21 year-old, 6’7 Villanova alum came to Motown from Brooklyn in a draft night trade that sent sharpshooter, Luke Kennard, as well as four future second round picks to Clipperland, and also involved Landry Shamet’s move from California to New York. Saddiq has had a very solid rookie campaign, averaging 7.5 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 18.7 minutes, even though, contrary to some pundits opinion, he didn’t go in the lottery. But last week he decided he can do much more… and he did, giving us another reason for excitement in this supposedly lost season.
Earlier in the season we could prize his defense but were puzzled by his inability to convert shots from inside the arc. After making only 15 of 47 shots from there prior to last week, he finally figured some things out, and made 9 of 12 the past week, rounding up his game to such a successful outcome.
Hopefully, the bully ball, which apparently had some role in him fixing this problem, is one of a couple more consolation prizes that will join the 2018-2019 season as Blake Griffin’s input into Pistons franchise. The young forward admits that he had learned from Blake:
Saddiq on Blake Griffin: "For someone to be on this team with that amount of knowledge, I had no choice but to ask certain things, how to be prepared."— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) February 15, 2021
But the honor Saddiq just earned might now be the beginning of his own input into the franchise. Therefore, it’s good to hear that he understands that it’s just the first step for him: “I’m trying to not really focus on that individual type thing, I try to just focus on getting better each and every day, every and every week, each and every game. That’s success to me. That’s my mentality”.
Good stuff, young fella, that’s the mentality we want to have here in Detroit.