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The Detroit Pistons were able to select Purdue Boilermakers shooting guard Jaden Ivey with the 5th overall selection in last year's NBA Draft, but general manager Troy Weaver wasn't finished yet. Memphis center Jalen Duren, originally selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, would be on his way to Detroit thanks to a trade that the New York Knicks helped to facilitate. Detroit soon had themselves not one but two top young talents taken within Round 1 of the Draft.
Why It Matters: Both Duren and Ivey are in the team record books
Both Duren and Ivey were honored by the NBA earlier this afternoon by being named to the 2022-23 Kia NBA All-Rookie Second Team, becoming the third Pistons duo since 2013 to earn that accolade behind Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart (2020-21) and Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler (2012-13).
In the 73 games that Ivey played this season for the Pistons, he averaged 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 0.8 steals per game, averaging 31.1 minutes. Meanwhile, Duren appeared in 67 games and averaged 9.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.9 blocks per game while averaging 24.9 minutes.
For the 19-year-old Duren he's not afraid of anything, even at the young age of 19.
“I mean never really thought about nobody’s age as being like something they have over me,” Duren said at the end of the year. “It’s always been like you got to kind of show me. I know I’m young, significantly younger than I mean everybody kind of in the league. But I never felt like that made me less of a player than them in a way. I know I still got a lot more room to grow, a lot more I can get better at. But in terms of on the court, I feel like it’s a mental game. So I feel like I’m not scared of nobody and I don’t back down from nobody’s basketball.”
Wrapping It Up: Both Duren and Ivey are critical to the Pistons' future
We're hoping that not only can 2021 1st overall pick Cade Cunningham stay healthy for next season but that both Duren and Ivey can take the next step in their careers.
With a healthy trio of Cunningham, Duren, and Ivey in 2023, can the Pistons make a run at a return to the postseason?