Saddiq Bey sounds off on ‘most important’ thing for Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images) /

In his first start for the Atlanta Hawks, forward Saddiq Bey looked every bit the part of a former 19th overall pick.

He finished the 136-119 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers with 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting including going 5-for-8 from beyond the arc adding four rebounds, one assist, and one steal while committing just one turnover and zero personal fouls.

“We have a lot of talent on both ends of the floor,” Bey said after the game via the WEPA.FM YouTube channel. “But I think when we focus on defending and rebounding, that it starts our breaks our transitions, our being able to play fast. It’s hard to play fast if you don’t get stops. So us getting stops is most important and rebounding and let the offense take care of itself.”

The Hawks grew the lead to as large as 32 points but faced a tough Cavs team.

Cleveland, on the second night of a back-to-back, got it down to a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, typically a turning point for the Hawks. Instead, they finished on a narrow 28-24 “run” to put the game away for good.

Bey’s 19 points were third-most on the team providing a needed boost in the absence of John Collins who was in concussion protocol but appears to be on the mend.

“Just to be aggressive,” Bey said of the mindset before his big night. “I feel when I’m aggressive it helps the team. Try to help the team win. So try to be as aggressive as possible, take the shots that I know I can make.

“I try to just play my game no matter where I’m at. And my teammates did a great job of playing well on both ends of the floor. So, I feel like I was getting in a rhythm, feeling a rhythm. But, at the end of the day, it’s just for me to do anything it takes to help the team win. So that was my mentality.”

Big Decision Looming on Saddiq Bey

One of the key notes to the trade for Bey was that he still essentially has two more years of team control beyond this one due to restricted free agency in 2025.

That could help the Hawks push a very expensive decision down the road.

“I had heard that he was asking for insane money this upcoming summer,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony said on ‘The Lowe Post’ podcast on February 24. “That the feeling was that he was going to need a DeAndre Hunter-type contract in order to keep him.”

Hunter signed a four-year, $90 million deal this past offseason after a brief stalemate.

Bey has averaged 11 points on 70.8% true shooting with 4.7 boards and a 57%-clip from deep since arriving.

Next. Hawks stars get brutally honest about former HC Nate McMillan. dark

The Hawks have had salary negotiations with young players go different ways in recent years. It has usually resulted in the player getting paid, though in the case of Kevin Huerter, it got him traded after the fact while Collins has been in the rumor mill for years now. It will be interesting to see how the situation develops for Bey.