Nick Wass/Associated Press
Saddiq Bey is set to be the latest Villanova player chosen in the NBA draft, but just like other prospects before him, he is not considered to be a marquee first-round pick.
The sophomore forward is viewed by most experts as a mid-round selection, but he could end up as one of the top rookies from the draft class.
Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey fits that mold as well, as he is projected to be a fringe lottery pick at best from a program that has produced many NBA stars under John Calipari.
2020 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
6. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, SG/SF, Florida State
10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
13. New Orleans Pelicans: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
15. Orlando Magic: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
17. Boston Celtics (from Memphis): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
19. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
20. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia): Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
21. Denver Nuggets (from Houston): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
22. Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
23. Miami Heat: Tre Jones, PG, Duke
24. Utah Jazz: Jalen Smith, PF/C. Maryland
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
26. Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B
27. New York Knicks (from Los Angeles Clippers): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
28. Toronto Raptors: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
Underrated 1st-Round Prospects
Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press
Bey could follow in the footsteps of Josh Hart, Omari Spellman, Donte DiVincenzo and Mikal Bridges as a first-round pick out of Villanova in the past four years.
Bridges was the only top-10 choice of the quartet, but each player developed into a solid contributor for his team.
Bey recently confirmed his status in the draft pool by signing with an agent, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman projected Bey would land at No. 16 to Minnesota in his latest mock draft.
He took a major step forward as a sophomore by increasing his points per game by 7.9 and his three-point numbers by 20.6 percent.
His trajectory is similar to those of other Villanova players who entered the program as unheralded recruits and were transformed into NBA prospects by Jay Wright and his coaching staff. Bey’s 45.5 three-point percentage and improved defense could intrigue teams at the back end of the lottery, like the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers, if they do not qualify for the postseason.
The fringe playoff contenders in the Western Conference may benefit the most from Bey’s skill set as they look for immediate impact players from reputable college programs.
Prediction: No, 14 overall to Portland.
Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Sam Craft/Associated Press
Maxey’s one-year spell at Kentucky started with a 26-point outing versus Michigan State at the Champions Classic and closed with eight double-digit outings in nine games.
The freshman guard did a bit of everything for a Wildcats team that lost only once after February 4. He averaged 14 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game and shot 42.7 percent from the field.
Maxey has a good chance to extend Kentucky’s streak of at least one top-15 pick that dates back to 2010. Wasserman, who had Maxey at No. 15 in his latest mock draft, said there are “opinions varying” on what type of NBA player Maxey can be.
Although he put up some promising numbers in a talented backcourt, Maxey only shot 29.2 percent from three-point range. If he improves beyond the arc and keeps up consistency across offensive stat categories, he could be a solid addition for any of the teams that leave Orlando, Florida, without a postseason berth or a playoff series victory.
The Orlando Magic could be in the market for backcourt help if Evan Fournier declines his player option for next season.
Even if Fournier opts in, the Magic could take Maxey and develop him behind the 27-year-old and Terrence Ross to provide depth for a potential push above the No. 8 seed next season.
Prediction: No. 15 overall to Orlando.