Here is the outlook for Bey as he makes his transition to the NBA.
In Detroit, Bey will get to play for Dwane Casey, one of the most respected coaches in the league. Casey has a career record 434-394 (.524) across his stints in Minnesota, Toronto, and Detroit, and he won the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year award in Toronto.
Casey, the all-time winningest coach in Raptors’ franchise history, is known for being a strong communicator and holding his players accountable while maintaining a good relationship with them. Additionally, he is greatly responsible for developing another former Villanova standout, Kyle Lowry, into a six-time all-star. Casey will be a great mentor for Bey as he looks to carve out a role in the league.
Lack of Pressure
Bey enters Detroit with low individual and team expectations. Bey was one of three first-round picks by the Pistons. Detroit also selected point guard Killian Hayes with the 7th overall pick and center Isaiah Stewart with the 16th overall pick. Since Bey was the lowest selection of Detroit’s three first-round picks, he will not have as much pressure as the other two players, especially Hayes. Not having too much weight on his shoulders should allow Bey to play freely and make mistakes as he develops into an NBA player.
In terms of team expectations, Detroit is not projected to make the playoffs this season. The Pistons have only made the postseason twice in the last 11 years and have not made it past the first round of the playoffs since the 2007-08 season. Casey is leading the team in the right direction, but it is still a far way off from competing in the East. Because of this, there is no pressure on Bey to contribute to a winning team right away, which should allow him to take his time in adjusting his style of play to the NBA game.
At 6-foot-8 with a 45 percent clip from beyond the arc at Villanova last season, Bey looks to fit the mold of the prototypical, 3-and-D NBA small forward, while also having the versatility to play some minutes as a small-ball power forward. With shooting guard Luke Kennard having been traded to the Clippers in the deal that brought Bey to the Pistons and small forward Tony Snell having just been traded to the Hawks, it would seem that Bey should have the opportunity to earn a lot of minutes on the wing, especially since he has the potential to replace Kennard as Detroit’s top three-point threat.
Despite this, Bey may struggle for playing time during his rookie season because he is joining a team with a frontcourt that is still very crowded. Led by six-time NBA all-star Blake Griffin, Detroit’s frontcourt also includes 2019 first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya and recently acquired players Trevor Ariza and Dzanan Musa. Guards Rodney McGruder, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Jordan McRae may also get minutes at the small forward position in small-ball lineups. As a result, Bey will likely not play as many minutes as he expected to during his first season, which could hinder his development.
Despite having missed the postseason in nine of the past eleven seasons, the Pistons have not had a top-6 draft pick during that span. They have had plenty of picks in the 7-12 range, but aside from Andre Drummond, who was twice an all-star while in Detroit, every selection has been a bust.
This has led the franchise into a directionless spiral of irrelevance as they are not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough to get a transformative player in the draft. Seeing as Detroit lacks valuable trade assets and is not a strong free agent destination, if the franchise continues this trend, Bey will be stuck playing meaningless basketball for years to come.
Rookie Year Outlook
Best Case Scenario
Detroit trades Griffin and Ariza at the trade deadline and enters into a full rebuild. This would allow Bey to learn from these veterans for a few months before opening up space for him to get more playing time and develop his game during the second half of the season.
In the long term, this scenario would likely result in the Pistons getting a few top-5 draft picks over the next handful of years, which would hopefully allow the team to get back into the playoff picture once Bey starts to enter his prime.
Worst Case Scenario
Detroit holds onto its veterans and tries to make a playoff run. They barely miss the postseason and end up with another late lottery draft pick. All the while, Bey plays very limited minutes and is stuck sitting on the bench for a below average team with a bleak future.