The Detroit Pistons have the fifth overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Falling to the fifth selection likely puts the Pistons out of contention for the consensus top three prospects in the draft, Jabari Smith Jr, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero. After the top three, there is a group of about six prospects the Pistons are expected to consider.
The most popular names mocked to the Pistons have been Jaden Ivey, Ben Mathurin, Keegan Murray, and Shaedon Sharpe. Here we take a look at how Jaden Ivey would fit with the current roster.
Jaden Ivey is a 6’4, 200 lb sophomore guard out of Purdue University. In his sophomore year, he averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists and was named a consensus All-American (via Sports Reference). As a prospect, Ivey is considered the top guard in the draft, with one of the highest ceilings in the draft.
The main reason Ivey is considered such a highly-touted prospect is his athleticism. He has an incredible first step with blow-by-speed to get to the hoop at will. Once he gets to the rim, his strength and explosion allow him to dunk on anyone or finish through contact.
His ability to get to the rim should be even more dangerous in the open floor of the NBA, surrounded by shooters. In the open floor, Ivey has excellent vision and can find open shooters when the defense collapses, but he will need to improve his passing in the half-court when the defense is set.
As a shooter, Ivey is solid in the catch and shoot but streaky off the bounce and lacks an in-between game. Developing a mid-range game is vital for Ivey to become a consistent pick and roll scorer. Without a floater or midrange shot, defenses will be able to sag off and limit his ability to get to the rim. If Ivey can develop his midrange and vision in the half-court, Ivey will be an All-Star guard as a Ja Morant-like.
Where Jaden Ivey fits with the Detroit Pistons
Ivey could be an ideal fit as a backcourt partner with Cade Cunningham. At Purdue, Ivey was effective both on and off-ball, allowing him and Cade to split ball-handling duties taking pressure off Cade.
When Cade has the ball, Ivey can space the defense or cut to the rim, and if the defense collapses or rotates to stop Cade, Ivey can attack the rotation defense and get to the rim. When Cade needs a break, Ivey can run the pick and roll or attack the defense in the transition.
An Ivey – Cunningham pairing could truly be elite as they could cover up their backcourt mate’s weakness. Ivey is an exceptional athlete who can struggle with efficiency, while Cunningham is an efficient leader of the offense despite lacking elite athleticism.
If available, the Pistons will have to strongly consider selecting the guard out of Purdue. The Pistons shouldn’t be picking this high in the draft for much longer, so they must capitalize and find someone with star potential to pair long-term with Cade Cunningham.
Ivey has the upside to become a superstar in the league and a great pair with Cade Cunningham. The question will be if the Detroit Pistons and Dwane Casey believe they can bring that upside out of Ivey. If they believe in Casey and Ivey’s work ethic, Ivey should be the no-brainer pick at five.