It was important that the Pistons let it be known they will play Jaden Ivey to his strengths. When evaluating prospects a question not often brought up is: ‘What was the player asked to do?’.
With Purdue Jaden Ivey played in a system that didn’t present the greatest floor spacing, which would’ve better catered to his style of play. Ivey’s speed in transition, athleticism, first step and basketball IQ made him a tough cover despite the setback.
In the 2021-2022 season at Purdue Jaden Ivey averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assist per game while shooting a respectable 35.8% from 3. Ivey showed great improvement in free throws, 3 point shooting and playing making from over the year prior.
When Killian Hayes was selected in Troy Weaver’s first NBA Draft as general manager of the Detroit Pistons, Weaver issued remarks of indifference on the pick. He and Coach Dwane Casey stated Hayes would be given opportunity to play, but to expect a size-able learning curve and growing pains for the #7 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
For the Pistons, the pick of Jaden Ivey has had a much different sense of expectation than Hayes. With Ivey the Pistons are acknowledging his skillset and how they seek to utilize it right away.
Coach Dwane Casey let that be known at the introductory press conference:
“We do want to play faster and utilize Jaden and also Jalen’s ability to run the floor. So there’s a lot of different combinations we can play with, but we do want to take advantage of their strengths.”
Bringing in Jaden Ivey always meant playing at his pace for the Detroit Pistons, and that’s a good thing.
Jaden Ivey was one of the best players in the country when it talking transition offense. Ivey routinely made defenses look pedestrian as he averaged 1.1 points per possession (ppp) in transition.
His lightning quick speed and basketball IQ help him are able to be on full display. Whether it’s a quick two dribbles and he’s dunking, or a nifty pass as he continues to show playmaking ability, Ivey looks his best on offense when on the fast break.
Many times Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes and others have found themselves ahead of the pack when leading the fast break. With Jaden Ivey, you wont have that problem.
Area of Improvement
Ivey showed he worked hard on playmaking between freshman and sophomore years at Purdue. All of his stats associated increased, including turnovers. This is an area that needs attention as it too, can keep him on the bench further stunting development.
Where his assist rose from 1.9 to 3.2, the turnovers followed the trend from 1.4 to 2.5 per game. An assist to turnover ratio of 1.27.
Elite Free Throw Potential and Impact
He nearly doubled his free throw attempts over the previous year from 3.2 to 5.8.
This led to a a higher free throw rate for Ivey in which he made 74.4% of attempted free throws.
Obviously free throws are an important part of the game and there are some players who utilize the skill of drawing free throws better than others.
When looking at players like Ja Morant and even Dwyane Wade who share similar game styles and body type to Jaden Ivey, there’s one advanced stat that they all were elite at in college. For Morant and Wade it translated from college to the NBA and helped bolster the starts of their careers.
That advanced stat is ‘Free Throw Attempted Rate’ (FTr), which is the number of free throw attempts per field goal attempt.
Another thing to note about free throws, Wade and Morant each saw increases to their free throws attempted per game in the NBA over the college game.
To put this in better perspective, if Cade Cunningham raised his FTr from .163% to Jaden Ivey’s .469%, he’d be averaging an additional FIVE free throws per game. Cunningham would see an increase from 2.6 free throw attempts to 7.6 per game.
In terms of free throw attempts per game (FTA/g), Jerami Grant was the best on the Pistons with 5.5. Cade Cunningham (2.5) and Saddiq Bey (3.1) combined for 5.6 FTA/g. This isn’t enough production from 2 of the Pistons more ball dominate playmakers and scorers.
In addition to Cunningham and Bey making strides in this department, Ivey should lead the way even as a rookie.
Area of Improvement
With a player as fast, skilled and explosive as Jaden Ivey, the last thing you want to hear is pace. When moving too fast, Ivey would find himself making errant passes, hunting for foul calls or forcing tough shots. Dwane Casey is the type of coach who will make sure Ivey is put in the best position to succeed. Pistons fans are no stranger to Casey’s quick hook on younger players. To be fair, he’s stated many times that it’s to avoid building on bad habits that could derail future development.
“It’s a credit to the situation coach Casey has put us in to improve, game in and game out. It’s a blessing and something I don’t take for granted. He puts us in situations where we have no choice but to grow. We have to go through those experiences.” – Saddiq Bey
His Motor and Desire to Be Great
There’s no secret about the different connections to Detroit that Jaden Ivey has. The Detroit Pistons put it on full display at the introductory press conference.
The reason was tied to the desire of Jaden Ivey to be great, in a place he calls home, Detroit, Michigan. He made no secret during the draft process where he hoped to land with the Pistons at the top of the list. He had the Indiana Pacers second on his list out of respect to his time at Purdue University. His mom also played for the WNBA team the Indiana Fever.
Shortly after being drafted Jaden Ivey addressed the media about his selection:
“Coming from my background, my family has Detroit ties and when I heard my name called it was an honor…”
As fans look forward to seeing what Ivey will be in the NBA, don’t discount the ability he showed to improve on weaknesses from 1 year to the next.
Ivey improved his per game stats of points and 3 point shooting greatly, erasing doubts of his potential of at least a serviceable 3-point shooter. Where the motor is on full display is whenever Ivey is running!
Jaden Ivey’s speed and first step should cause more than a few problems for defenders trying to track the guard in the half court, or in transition.
“He’s fast. I’m not fast. Having someone like that spreads the floor out a lot,” Cade Cunningham said, per Omari Sankofa III of the Detroit Free Press.
With Jaden Ivey’s pedigree, desire to be great, work ethic and personal drive, you can bet on him being in the rookie of the year race as the season is winding down.
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