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Potential 2020 NBA Draft targets for the Spurs: Tyler Bey

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Dissecting a desirable defensive building block

Chicago Legends Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The NBA Board of Governors approved of a return to action in a controlled environment in Orlando with players housed at Walt Disney World Resorts precisely a week ago. While an official announcement of an exact date for the resumption of the regular season has yet to surface, the league has reportedly decided on August 25th for the NBA Draft Lottery and October 15th for the Draft, which means we’re closing in on prospect season.

Because of the rules surrounding the recommencement, San Antonio can’t boost their lottery odds by losing games, but they can squander their propitious draft positioning if they somehow qualify for the playoffs. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the talented prospects who should be available outside of the lottery if the Spurs manage to keep their historic postseason streak alive for a record 23rd straight year.

Tyler Bey | Colorado | Junior | Wing

Measurements

Height: 6’7’’

Weight: 216 lbs

Wingspan: 7’1’’

DOB: 2/10/1998

Stats (31 GP)

Per Game: 13.8 PPG/9.0 RPG/1.5 APG/1.2 SPG/1.5 BPG

Per 36: 17.2 PPG/11.2 RPG/1.8 APG/1.4 SPG/1.9 BPG

Shooting Splits: .530 FG%/.419 3P%/.743 FT%

Offense

While Tyler Bey doesn’t pose much of a threat on the offensive end at the moment, he has exhibited the necessary skills to become a 3-and-D wing at the next level. His ceiling isn’t particularly high, and he’s ancient in comparison with some of the other prospects we’ve reviewed, but his archetype is valuable enough to warrant first-round interest. And being part of the weaker 2020 NBA Draft Class unquestionably boosts his stock.

Despite a limited repertoire, Bey flashed the capacity to knock down open three-point jumpers, albeit in a relatively small sample size. Mechanically his form isn’t irreparable, though his off-hand tends to drift, his footwork is inconsistent, and his knees buckle inward when loading up. Working diligently with a professional shooting coach should be a top priority if he wants to take his shot from strictly stationary to dangerous on the move.

Bey isn’t a guy you want handling the ball for extended periods, and his poor court vision and inability to read and react to the defense led to several ill-advised passes. He will occasionally break out a crossover or spin move to create space, but he is best-served sticking to straight-line drives where he can utilize his quick first step to get to the basket. Tyler is an excellent athlete and a powerful finisher around the rim, especially when he can explode off two feet, and he doesn’t need a ton of breathing room to get airborne.

The Colorado product showed promise as a screener, which bodes well for his potential to operate out of pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop sets. And this, combined with his physicality and proclivity for drawing fouls, could add another dimension to his game. Dunking over the top of rim protectors won’t be as viable an option for Bey as it was in college, and improving his touch and strengthening his left hand will be essential to maintaining his efficiency.

Depending on how well he progresses in the areas discussed, the Las Vegas native could feasibly line up at shooting guard or either forward spot. This sort of positional versatility has become a priceless commodity in the NBA, and it’s exactly the trait that has made players like Draymond Green, P.J. Tucker, and OG Anunoby integral members of title contenders. And for that reason alone, Tyler Bey is an intriguing project worthy of patience from any front office and their developmental staff.

Defense

The tired tale of San Antonio’s porous perimeter defense isn’t a topic I enjoy, yet their glaring deficiencies in that department always lead me down that road when reviewing prospects. The Spurs sorely need a defensive upgrade on the wing, and Tyler Bey fits the bill when it comes to preventing opponents from piling on points.

The 22-year-old wing is one of the best all-around defenders in the 2020 Draft Class, and his ability to wreak havoc with his length, burst, and instincts should immediately translate to the next level. Not only did he put his rumored seven-one wingspan to good use by tallying more than a steal and block per game last season, but rangled in 9.0 rebounds per game, good enough for 58th in the nation.

Bey is an outstanding team defender and a true playmaker on this end of the court, turning deflections and turnovers into fastbreak opportunities. The third-year Buffalo is always active, alert, and vocal, and he stunts, digs, rotates and closes out on shooters to near perfection. His high defensive IQ combined with his ridiculous anticipation and solid footwork virtually guarantee he’ll disrupt a few plays each night out.

The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year was also among the most prolific backcourt shot-blockers, finishing his junior year with the seventh highest block total at either guard position. And his sharp reactions, discipline, body control, and fundamental practice of verticality keep him out of foul trouble. Stronger players can easily displace Bey when he finds himself switched onto big men. However, his fearless competitiveness is an encouraging sign if he ever fills out his somewhat slight frame.

Tyler Bey might never be anything more than a warm body on offense, but the guard-forward tweener is about as close as you can get to the complete package when it comes to stifling opposing scorers. Aside from getting caught on screens from time to time, it’s hard not to fall in love with his fluid hips, quick feet, suffocating man-to-man defense, and latent switchability. He won’t be leading a franchise to glory anytime soon, though that doesn’t mean he can’t be part of the reason they’re taking home the championship hardware.

Player Comparison: Andre Roberson/Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Similar to Leandro Bolmaro, the professional players who compare favorably to Tyler Bey aren’t riveting names with All-NBA resumes. And that’s to be expected when evaluating a late first-round talent. Could he overachieve and shatter his projected ceiling? Sure. Though there isn’t substantial evidence to suggest the late bloomer has untapped All-Star potential.

Bey holds a striking physical resemblance to Toronto forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The first-year Raptor is an inch shorter, a pound heavier, and lays claim to an inch longer wingspan. And his muscley build can give you a good idea of what Tyler might look like somewhere down the road if and when he hits the weight room and bulks up.

Hollis-Jefferson is a fairly accurate parallel for Bey on the offensive end as well. Both wings are serviceable lob targets who love to cut to the basket and thrive in transition. Hollis-Jefferson is a smarter passer and possesses better handles but fell out of favor in Brooklyn when his defensive productivity failed to outweigh his paltry offensive output, which is an issue that could arise if Bey never learns to drain the three-ball with any volume or consistency.

Defensively, Bey reminds me of his fellow Colorado University alumnus Andre Roberson. Their motors are through the roof, and the pair are absolute pests on the defensive end, disrupting ballhandlers and making plays on and off the ball. It’s not uncommon to see these guys outhustle taller players for boards, and their controlled style of play makes it difficult to bait them into cheap fouls.

While the Silver and Black could use another knockdown three-point marksman to improve their perimeter attack, San Antonio is in dire need of defensive assistance. The guard-forward hybrid would be one of the Spurs best defenders from the jump, and training with storied shooting coach Chip Engelland could conceivably refurbish his wonky form. Tyler Bey isn’t deserving of a lottery pick, but trading down or back into the tail end of the first round wouldn’t be the worst idea.


To check out more potential 2020 draft targets, click here.