When Troy Weaver came to Detroit, the Pistons were lacking young talent. And in his first draft with the team, Weaver set out to change that. In fact, he traded players and assets to give the Pistons 3 picks in the first round. Those picks netted him Killian Hayes at 7th, Isaiah Stewart at 16th, and Saddiq Bey at 19th. The energy around the draft gave the Pistons a lot to be excited about. However, when Bey was drafted at the 19th spot, there was a feeling among Pistons fans that we just committed high way robbery. For a forward who can come into the league and already shoot the ball and play good defense, it was a wonder how he dropped all the way to 19. And just a little bit into his rookie year, that feeling was more than affirmed.
In his first year with the Pistons, Saddiq Bey was third all-time in most threes by a rookie. In fact, he’s up there with other names such as Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard, Anthony Edwards, and Luka Doncic. That’s pretty elite company. He also hit the most threes by a rookie in Pistons history, and played so well, that the Pistons decided to move on early from the services of Blake Griffin. Bey also broke the record in his rookie year for most nights with 5+ threes in one game for a rookie, with other names like Allen Iverson and Steph Curry being in that group. The thing that perhaps is the scariest, is that this season, Bey has only gotten better. And it has the NBA world begging the question: what exactly is Saddiq Bey’s ceiling?
Saddiq Bey’s Sophomore season started slow, but did not stay that way
Other than the play of Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey’s sophomore season was arguably going to be the most intriguing. However, Saddiq Bey struggled big time in his first month back. In their first calendar month back, the Pistons forward averaged just 12.5 points shooting 35 percent from the field. What was more troublesome, however, was Bey’s terrible three point numbers. Saddiq was only able to shoot 28 percent from beyond the arc. There were genuine questions as to whether or not Bey was going to be the same player of last year. However, we quickly learned that those numbers didn’t mean much. As a matter of fact, the player Bey has been this entire season compared to then is unrecognizable.
Since the new year, Saddiq Bey has been averaging 17.7 points per game, shooting 42 percent from the field, and has improved his three to 37 percent on 8 attempts per game. He’s had four games with 30 plus points compared to just the one last year, and has doubled his 20 point games from last year as well (already at 20 compared to 11). Not only is Bey showing a new ability to find his shot, but he is also doing so more efficiently.
And in addition, he is having phenomenal performances more consistently. Bey’s scoring last season was largely based on his catch and shoot attempts. However, this season, Bey’s threat beyond the arc is no longer a secret. It’s something that other teams have to plan for. So for Bey to increase his production, but still see his three point shot around the same rate is huge for Saddiq going forward.
Feb 6, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey (41) celebrates after scoring against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the fourth quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey are only going to get better together
The Detroit Pistons are currently on a three game win streak, and have won 6 of their last 8. And a lot of that can be owed to the success of Saddiq Bey, Cade Cunningham, and even Jerami Grant. The trio has averaged 58.9 points per game together since the Pistons winning ways have started. In addition, they are shooting 45 percent from the field, and are all moving the ball well too. Bey, in particular, has averaged 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. Ever since this trio has stepped up offensively, the Detroit Pistons have been a different team. And with the way they’ve been playing, it’s hard to see this trio slowing down.
A lot of questions have been raised about the fit of Jerami Grant and Saddiq Bey. However, a lot of those concerns have been put to rest of late. Saddiq Bey’s game is so effective because his brand of basketball works in almost any system. And he’s the type of player that can fit around almost anybody. There were concerns that Bey’s scoring output would struggle when Grant came back in the lineup from injury. In fact, it almost seemed like Bey’s play would lead to Grant’s ultimate move at the deadline. However, that would not be the case. And they are thriving together now because of it. Troy Weaver and Dwane Casey can’t help but see this trio and wonder if this is the winning formula to build around. A winning formula that doesn’t even include the Pistons lottery pick in the summer.
Just how good can Saddiq Bey get?
In his short NBA career, Saddiq Bey has given Pistons fans a lot of reasons to be excited. And the thing that is terrifying for the rest of the league? Saddiq Bey is doing all this, and hasn’t even turned 23 yet. Bey’s career is still young, and he is already making his mark league wide. He made the rising stars challenge this year alongside Cade Cunningham and Isaiah Stewart, and even was on the USA select team in the summer. The opportunities are only going to keep coming Bey’s way. And he is only going to do what he’s done already: maximize those opportunities.
As last season ended, Saddiq Bey’s ceiling felt like it was only going to go as high as his offensive game could take him. Everyone knew that he could score from the three if his defender was caught sleeping. What we didn’t know, however, was if Bey could create offense for himself and those around him. Saddiq Bey has shown significant growth in that category this season, and seems to only get better after each game. And as I try to find myself predicting his ceiling now, I find myself unable to quite put a limit. Because if this is what we’ve gotten already? There’s no telling the heights Saddiq Bey can reach.
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Featured Image Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports