'Dynamic and explosive': What experts say about Detroit Pistons draft pick Jaden Ivey
In 2021, it was widely known the Detroit Pistons were going to take Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 overall pick.
This year, there were question marks until the final moment, when the Pistons selected Purdue guard Jaden Ivey with the No. 5 overall pick after the Sacramento Kings picked Iowa forward Keegan Murray fourth.
"Dynamic and explosive guard who is great in transition," said ESPN's Jay Bilas about Ivey. "His speed is remarkable. In the open floor he’s fantastic, he can change speeds, but he’s got a gear that very few other players have.
"It’s Ja Morant-type explosiveness with Dwyane Wade-type length."
Ivey was a second-team All-American and named to the first team All-Big Ten for Purdue in 2021-22, averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists on 46% shooting from the field.
He's not an exceptional shooter — he knocked down 35.8% of his three pointers a season ago — but analysts say they saw enough improvement from his freshman to sophomore season not to be concerned about that.
"He improved his shooting over the past year, can catch and shoot, get his own and he’s got deep range," Bilas said. "He doesn’t shoot a great percentage but he can run off screens, makes good reads and cuts with great speed
"When he gets down hill, forget it."
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Jalen Rose, the former Fab Five member from Detroit and analyst for the ABC telecast of the draft, could be heard saying "Deeeetroit basketball" on the broadcast after the Pistons made the selection. He said the combination of Cunningham and Ivey could be one of the most dynamic for years to come.
"He’s a blur with the basketball," Rose said. "Ivey, to go with MotorCade, Marvin Bagley, Saddiq Bey and the rest ... let’s get it."
Ivey has Detroit roots. He lived in the area as a young boy when his mother, Niele Ivey, played for the Detroit Shock in the early 2000's.
Niele, the current coach of Notre Dame who won a 2001 national championship with the Fighting Irish as a player, was the first person Ivey hugged after his name was called. He cried as his mother held him and after he walked off the stage, credited her for the success of his journey.
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"This is everything man, I worked day in and day out just to get to this level," he said in an interview on ABC. "I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her and I’m just so happy."
ESPN's Kendrick Perkins made the same comparison as Bilas, saying that Ivey's ability to attack down hill, play above the rim and quick first step remind him of the Grizzlies star.
"This guy has Ja Morant written all over him," Perkins said. "When you talk about a dynamic, athletic guard that can get to the basket and finish above the rim. He's a guy that’s real quick and shifty with the basketball."
Perkins also couldn't help but talk about the young core the Pistons appear to be forming. Cunningham as the star, Ivey as his potential sidekick, along with Bey, Bagley and Isaiah Stewart.
Then, there's the fact the Pistons have the most cap room of any team in the NBA, leading Perkins to believe they're creating room for one player in particular to join the fold.
"To pair (Ivey) alongside cade Cunningham, the great thing about cade is he’s that point-forward type, not only can he get his, but he can facilitate for others," Perkins said. "One name comes to mind, DeAndre Ayton, another man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
"We’re talking bout a guy that’s everything you want in that power forward slash center position. I think Troy Weaver has his eyes on Deandre Ayton, that’s why he made room for him and he’s only 23 years of age … so you can put him right in with the young core."
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