Examining possible NBA landing spots for Villanova's Saddiq Bey originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Saddiq Bey is poised to become the fifth Villanova player in the last four years selected in the first round of the NBA draft. Not only has Jay Wright elevated his program to elite status in college basketball, he's also established a pipeline of pro prospects. Josh Hart was a first round pick in 2017. Then Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman were all selected in the first 30 picks the following year. Factor in second-round picks Jalen Brunson (2018) and Eric Paschall (2019) and Villanova players have earned a reputation for being reliable NBA contributors.
Bey is next in line and has the potential to be a difference maker at the pro level. He made the leap from good to great during his sophomore season at Villanova, winning the Julius Erving Award as the best small forward in the country. Bey averaged 16.1 points per game and shot 45.1 percent from three-point range. His defensive versatility makes him even more attractive to NBA talent evaluators.
Bey will likely be selected somewhere in the 10-20 range in the 2020 NBA draft. Let's examine some possible landing spots.
Golden State Warriors
It's highly unlikely that the Warriors would select Bey with the second overall selection. But it wouldn't be surprising if Golden State ends up trading that pick. If they end up with a pick in the middle of the first round, they'll take a long look at Bey. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and Wright are both assistants on Gregg Popovich's Olympic coaching staff. They've spent a lot of time together talking basketball the last few years and have very similar coaching styles, valuing versatile players who can shoot the basketball effectively. That's Bey in a nutshell.
Kerr had a front row seat for Paschall's brilliant rookie campaign this past season for the Warriors. The Villanova product averaged 14 points in 60 games and earned a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Golden State could very well tap into the Villanova pipeline again and draft Bey.
Bey's hometown team is in the market for a versatile wing player to pair with star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards have the ninth overall pick, which is at the high end of where Bey could be selected. Bey could easily end up as one of the 10 best players in this draft but not many experts have him pegged as a top-10 pick. Washington could change that by calling Bey's name on draft night.
San Antonio Spurs
Popovich also has a great relationship with Wright and appreciates the brand of basketball that Villanova plays. He values unselfish, team-first players like Bey. San Antonio has the 11th pick and could do a lot worse than Bey, who would serve as a young building block for a Spurs team hoping to re-establish itself as one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Like Kerr and Popovich, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is regarded as one of the best coaches in the NBA. Carlisle is another guy who identifies and values players from winning college programs. Brunson has developed into a valuable piece for Dallas, averaging just under 10 points in his first two NBA seasons. While Bey and Brunson are different players, they are similar in makeup and mentality — unselfish, hard-working guys who are focused on winning.
The Mavericks have the 18th pick, which is right in the range where Bey is likely to be selected. He'd be a very nice addition as Dallas tries to surround superstar Luka Doncic with the right pieces in order to become a title contender.
Will Bey still be available when the Sixers make the 21st pick? That's the million-dollar question. If he is, the Sixers shouldn't think twice about taking him. He'd be a perfect fit playing alongside stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Bey would get a ton of open looks on the offensive end and would greatly enhance the Sixers' defensive identity.
Odds are slim that Bey will still be on the board when the Sixers are on the clock. But if he is available, he'd represent tremendous value with that 21st pick.