Pistons’ Saddiq Bey has one of most unlikely 50-point games in NBA history

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Even Rob Dauster, who called Saddiq Bey the most underrated prospect in the 2020 NBA Draft, wasn’t exactly bullish on Bey’s scoring potential. Coming out of Villanova, Bey especially shined as a defender. His offense looked more supportive than leading.

As today has shown, college basketball players are difficult to evaluate.

In Thursday’s only NBA game as the NCAA Tournament first round began, Bey scored 51 points in the Pistons’ 134-120 win over the Magic – one of the least likely 50-point games in NBA history.

Even with his big night, Bey is averaging just 16.3 points per game this season. That’s up from 12.2 Bey’s rookie year last season but still fairly pedestrian for a starter. Bey ranks third on the Pistons – one of the NBA’s lowest-scoring teams – in points per game (behind Jerami Grant and Cade Cunningham).

The low mark for points per game in a season with a 50-point game still belongs to Jamal Crawford, who averaged just 7.9 points for the 2018-19 Suns, even including his 51 points in the final game of the season. But Crawford was a proven 20-point-per-game scorer who dialed up one last moment in the twilight of his career.

Bey has never shown that scoring prowess.

Here are the players with the lowest peak full-season scoring averages when scoring 50 points, including the season of the 50-point game:

Terrence Ross‘ 50-point game with the Raptors was so out of character. But Ross has also developed into more of a microwave scorer with the Magic.

Maybe Bey will follow that path. His All-Rookie first-team season already provided increased reason to believe Bey could get buckets in the NBA.

Tonight’s monster output further raises expectations.