We’re going to find out.
Villanova sophomore forward Saddiq Bey — a potential lottery pick — is staying in the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN.
Bey projects as a first-rounder, with a wide range of reasonable outcomes. He could go in the lottery. He could go late in the opening round. Opinion is divided other than Bey’s supporters mostly agreeing: They can’t see why others aren’t higher on the Villanova sophomore.
At 6-foot-8, Bey is a versatile defender. He uses his 6-foot-8 wingspan well on the perimeter to cover for his mediocre lateral quickness. He works hard inside against bigger opponents.
Offensively, Bey shines as an outside shooter with a quick release. He won’t match the 45% of 3-pointers he hit from the college arc last season, and his form is slightly awkward (though consistent). But what won’t change: how hard Bey works to get clean spot-up looks on the perimeter. He runs the floor hard. He comes off screens. He repositions as the ball moves. Those are valuable effort contributions.
Bey also finds open teammates, though it’s unclear how he’ll actualize his passing ability at the next level. Why would teams leave someone else open when Bey has the ball? Bey doesn’t have the first step and ball-handling ability to draw help defenders, often even while attacking a closeout.
Really, athletic shortcomings offer questions about his defense, too. As well as he played in college, he could be overwhelmed by NBA athleticism.
But Bey’s skills and hustle matter, too. There is plenty of appeal.
A Largo, Maryland, native, Bey could also follow a well-worn path from Prince George’s County to the NBA.