Is Saddiq Bey a three point shooter? If you asked observers that after last season, you might have gotten a resounding “YES!” Especially after setting the Detroit Pistons franchise record for most made threes in a season with 211.
This season it’s been rough for Bey from three, but it’s no different than last season. Which finished with very respectable shooting metrics by the end of the season.
But what if he doesn’t want to wait on his three point shot coming around? What if he acknowledged his streaky shooting and wanted to improve? Becoming a more versatile player would be vital.
The Detroit Pistons were counting on Saddiq Bey taking a big step forward coming into this season.
There were reports and quotes all summer of Bey working so hard on improving his game, the Pistons had to tell him to take a break.
He even did that to the extreme. By visiting the high altitude Colorado mountains, for much needed relaxation and meditation.
Why? Because of the expectations put on him by not just the organization, but the goals he personally has. To be nothing short of great.
“I’m just always in the gym,” Bey said. “It’s hard for me to find another hobby. This was the best that I could do.”
For as good as all that is, it doesn’t make the Pistons’ iron man the perfect player. Nobody is, but fans are hoping they can figure out just what type of player Bey is.
Last season he got off to a slow start trying to expand his game. I remember remarking it seemed Bey set out to be more than just a three point shooter. Opposed to how observers view a player Bey indirectly replaced, Luke Kennard.
But as the season drew on, it was clear Bey was working at becoming a more versatile player. This helps streaky shooters remain valuable, even if it’s just not their night.
So then, how is Saddiq Bey doing?
The more talent Troy Weaver added to the Pistons after Bey, the more he’s had a difficult time adjusting. Especially this season with the additions of Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks, and Bojan Bogdanovic. More ball dominant players who need the ball in their hands to be most effective.
The coaches saw the log jam too and decided this year, maybe it’s best Bey come off the bench for better scoring balance.
“For him to handle his role is very important.” Dwane Casey said. “The coaching staff asking him to come off the bench, it says a lot for him to handle it and compete the way he does.”
What The Numbers Say
Compared to last season, this year he receives two less shot attempts and three fewer minutes per game. Indicating the need to be a more efficient player, as opportunities are more scarce.
In 2021-22 through the first 21 games Bey played, he averaged 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The shooting wasn’t much to write about. His field goal percentage was 35.5% and three point shooting was 28.5%.
This season has seen Bey off to a similar start from behind the arc shooting 27% from three. But his field goal percentage is up 5% over last.
To put it in perspective, Bey’s 51.7% from inside the arc and 91% from free throw line is the best of his career. His focus on driving to the rim through contact has shown more promise, than I originally thought capable when he was drafted.
Some good things take time.
Though the three point shooting can seem concerning right now, Bey did end last season at 34.5%. So if the trend holds true, you will see him have much better shooting from behind the arc as this season progresses.
Saddiq Bey’s New Role
“The role as the go to guy on the second unit is huge for our program,” Casey said.
Is this coach hinting at Saddiq Bey being seen long term as a sixth man? Up to this point I assumed everything could change again with this lineup. It’s becoming very evident though, that Bey thrives when he has the ball in his hands.
The experiment hasn’t been perfect as one night he looks like a future all star, and other nights a total work in progress. The up and down scoring has made him a less reliable option, especially for a starting unit that needs shooting to space the floor.
We’ve seen Bey’s style clash with Bogdanovic which prompted the move to the bench. And now we see the same beginning to creep up with Alec Burks’ numbers way down since Saddiq Bey returned to the bench.
I believe his three point shooting will eventually improve as it did the previous two seasons, and would love to see Bey locked down that sixth man spot.
To be fair, this team has so many new players and different make-up compared to the team Bey was first drafted too. He had more veterans around him like Blake Griffin, and Jerami Grant, where his role was much more stationary that it has been this season.
So time to get the chemistry right is only fair as the young players step into the roles of long time NBA veterans. We were ready and willing to give Cade and Jaden Ivey that reasonable understanding as they sought how to play together.
Unless Troy Weaver…
The Pistons travel to the sunshine state to take on the Miami Heat on Tuesday, December 6th.
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