The NBA Draft is less than a week away and the Trail Blazers are set to make their first selection just outside of the lottery at pick No. 16. In SB Nation’s community-wide mock draft, Steve Dewald of Blazer’s Edge selected Villanova forward Saddiq Bey when the pick arrived.
In the blogger-led draft, there was a run on forwards prior the Blazers’ pick. Without the ability to trade in this year’s mock draft, Blazer’s Edge went decided to explore the safest route.
The late-lottery, boom-or-bust prospects were off the board when this pick arrived, forcing this selection in the direction of the safe route. In a draft class filled with uncertainty, Saddiq Bey is on a short list of safe bets. Depending on how the offseason rolls out in Portland, it is possible that Bey could push for minutes as a rookie. There is always room for tertiary scoring alongside the Blazers’ star-studded backcourt. Again, this isn’t a flashy pick, but it is one that falls inside Damian Lillard’s prime.
Bey, who averaged 16.1 points per game as a sophomore, doesn’t fit the typical profile of a Blazers’ selection. Typically, Neil Olshey has leaned into prospects that possess a higher ceiling. That said, there is a lot to like about Bey’s game.
Bey’s strengths were highlighted in our comprehensive profile on Blazer’s Edge.
Bey made the most of his feature role in his second season with Villanova. From overall scoring to efficiency, the North Carolina native put up impressive numbers. For potential NBA suitors, Bey’s blistering 45.1 three-point percentage jumps off the page. Buoyed by his quick release and constant movement off the ball, Bey routinely puts himself in position for high-percentage looks. His rise in efficiency is not by accident. He is an expert at staying busy in an effort to exploit holes in opposing defenses. His off-ball movements are most noticeable when he identifies when the defense is collapsing to the paint and he sneaks into the corner for wide-open looks.
You can check out the complete mock draft at SB Nation.