We all know that the San Antonio Spurs are picking 11th in the NBA Draft by now. We also know how I feel about it at this point as I spoke with Paul Garcia on the SpursCast and with Joe Garcia on The Spurs Takeover. Many mock drafts have some good forwards and wing players available to the Spurs at 11 and this post is going to debate two of them in Saddiq Bey and Patrick Williams.
You can get background on both in the profiles we’ve already written up on them. You can find Williams’ here and Bey’s here. And now it’s time to get into why you might like one over the other. We’ll start with what both forwards do well and the positive attributes they possess.
Both can become handler in a pick-and-roll situation and could be on the receiving end of pick-and-pops as well. Bey is the better shooter right now and ranked in the 98th percentile the NCAA in catch-and-shoot scenarios. Williams is a solid shooter right now and could fill a similar role, but just wasn’t as efficient as Bey this past season. Bey is a more known commodity in how he projects since he’s played collegiate ball for more than one season while Williams is a young freshman and averaged less than 23 minutes a game.
While Bey is a little older, both players still have plenty of upside to their game with Williams having quite a bit more potential in that regard. The two forwards should also turn into solid, if not great defenders, and have plus wingspans to help them do that. Bey moves his feet a bit better and has better lateral movement. However, Williams is stronger and bigger right now, which will help him with the power forwards in the NBA.
The last thing these likely lottery picks have in common is their basketball IQ. Playing at Villanova under coach Jay Wright has given Bey a deep understanding of the game as has played under coach Leonard Hamilton at FSU for Williams. That will be the last thing Spurs fans need to worry about with these two players. Williams may be at a slight disadvantage due to his age and not being a starter in his lone collegiate season.
Some of the separating factors for these players are going to be secondary playmaking, defensive versatility, and creating their own shot.
As for the first factor listed, Bey might be better in that regard, at least as it stands now. He can initiate an offense or go out and get his own shot at times. He’s excellent at getting to his one-dribble pull up shot and he is efficient with that shot as well. He can get into the paint and use a couple of post moves to get a shot off as well. For Williams, he is also great at getting to a dribble pull up, but he can get to the rim a little easier. Williams has only a functional handle right now and shouldn’t be called upon to get an offense going if a guard is being taken out of it.
Defensive versatility is going to be big for this Spurs team as they have a ton of guards who can clamp down on the perimeter and having some forwards who can do that would be crucial to improving and completing the rebuild.
Bey can guard one through three and some fours right now. He moves well with most guards and can stay in front of them when switched. Williams is stuck as a two-position defender (either forward spot) right now because of his slightly above average athleticism and his lack of hip fluidity. If he can improve on those facets of his game he could become a three-position defender.
There are fewer skills more important in today’s NBA than being able to get by defenders and score in a variety of ways as a wing player. Both these prospects have shown flashes of being able to do that. Williams is probably going to be a little better as he is incredibly comfortable in the mid-range and has the confidence to try finishing with either hand at the rim.
Bey and Williams will have to improve their actual finishing at the rim. Bey struggles more with getting around bigger players in the post and beating faster guys off the dribble. Williams is strong enough that he can get most of what he wants in the paint, but he also lacks straight-line speed to get downhill on defenders.
If you’ve been talked into liking Bey a lot more, don’t blame yourself. I psyched myself into him before writing this as well, but we have to remember that Williams is much younger and is in fact, the youngest collegiate player in this draft. He has years of potential and upside in him so don’t judge him too harshly. The system he played in during college also didn’t showcase all of what he can do. If I had to choose one player to take at 11 between just these two, it would be Williams because of his age and the potential to do all those things Bey can do now.