If the Pistons were going to make a push for the play-in tournament this season, certian things needed to go right. For one, Detroit would need great play from their franchise player Cade Cunningham. In addition, coach Casey and crew would need elevated play from his third year players. Saddiq Bey, in particular, is a player Detroit has leaned on since his rookie year. And since entering the league, Bey has been known for his perimiter shooting. However, for the second season in a row, the forward out of Villanova has struggled to get his shot going. At this current time, Bey is shooting 27.2 percent. And per BBall-Index, that puts him in the 28th percentile. And for someone who has one of the higher three point attempt rates in the league, that’s not great.
If you take a look at the box score, however, it’s apparent that Saddiq Bey is still making an impact. He’s in the 76th percentile in creating shots at the rim, and he’s in the 94th percentile in driving fouls while driving to the rim. what does that mean? He’s getting to the basket and he’s either getting to the cup or going to the line. Even though Bey’s shot is currently not falling, he is still finding ways to score, and he’s showing the areas of his game he’s improved on. However, none of that can replace what Saddiq Bey is capable of when his shot is falling down. So the question is, do the Pistons have an issue with Saddiq Bey, and should they be concerned? And will this new role off the bench aid his shooting woes, or will it be harder for him to get shots off?
Comparing Pistons Saddiq Bey’s shooting slump to last season
This is not the first time that Saddiq Bey has started a season cold from three. Last year, the Pistons forward faced similar struggles, and it’s hard to not feel some deja vu. As of November 28th 2021, Saddiq’s three point percentage was 29.4. And as of November 29th of 2022, Bey was shooting 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. An encouraging note for the Pistons is that Bey did follow that month with a much improved December. In December of 2021, Bey averaged 37 percent from three on 7.5 attempts and averaged 18 point a game. He went on to score as high as 51 points that season.
It is apparent that Bey has had a similar start to last season, and is still looking for his consistency. If there is any player that he can look to mirror in that aspect, it’s his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic. In his first season in Detroit, the forward from Bosnia is averaging 20.7 points shooting 41.7 percent from three and 50.8 percent from the field. When it comes to offense, you know what you are getting every night. He gets to his spots, he finds his opportunities, and he maximizes them. To get to that level takes skill, discipline, and years of mastery. And even though Saddiq continues to show flashes of brilliance, it is his consistency that keeps him from reaching those heights.
Saddiq’s new 6th Man role will give him plenty of opportunity
As the Pistons are trying to find the way their pieces best fit, one move they’ve made is bringing Saddiq Bey off the bench. With the scoring opportunities becoming few and far between in the starting unit, this allows Bey more touches. In addition, it lets Saddiq have the opportunity to be a primary creator and still play starter level minutes. The results thus far have been limited, however, Bey is getting more comfortable as he’s getting more time. And with Detroit being at 6-19 and having Cade Cunningham on the sidelines indefinitely, there’s no reason for Detroit to not be patient with the experiment.
With Saddiq Bey being as talented as he is, it’s doubtful that he will continue to be in this shooting slump. However, it does highlight the next, and hardest, step in his overall development. In order to be one of the best shooters in the league, it needs to happen on a night to night basis. And even though Bey is still finding ways to create and score, it won’t bring nearly the same impact as when he is able to get his shot going. Knowing Bey, it certainly is not from a lack of effort and from not putting in the time. Shooting slumps can be complex, and they can be difficult to control. But when Bey can limit the nights where he’s 1-6 or 2-9 from three, it will benefit the Pistons immensly.
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