In traditional Villanova fashion, Saddiq Bey has proven a willingness to play stout defense as an on-ball defender. His size, along with his wingspan, made him a great plug-and-play defensive option for the Wildcats last season.
That versatility bodes well for his efficacy as professional. At the very least it will help him earn minutes in whatever rotation he joins come December.
Off-ball, Bey has shown flashes of absent mindedness as a help defender:
That highlight shows both sides of Bey’s defensive study — the missed defensive rotation followed by the instinctual athletic recovery. One rotation does not characterize a player’s defensive potential, but this play does prove a fine summarization of his predispositions.
Were Bey able to develop an ability to guard up, his evaluation changes drastically. If he can make the switch to matching NBA power forwards and centers he could revolutionize his future franchise’s defense.
His peak form is a stretch forward or even center that can guard up to seven-feet. Few players have ever qualified for this role at Bey’s size. He would need to continue developing his body to realize this transition.
Bey will never be a defensive liability in the NBA given his intangibles. He has shown a willingness to putting in extra effort, a common pitfall for highly-touted selections.
If he does not reach another level defensively Bey would need to maximize his potential on offense. There is a possibility he never becomes a high-impact player on both sides of the ball.