Detroit Pistons: Ivey and Duren Can Provide Star Power Cade Needs
The Detroit Pistons have proven they can score, but will that matter next season? They’ve depended on Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec burks to provide large portions of the offense, especially with Cade Cunningham out for the season. But they were brought in to compliment Cunningham’s game, not the other way around.
When starting, Killian Hayes played the ‘Cade’ role but Jaden Ivey impressed when given an opportunity to run the show. The play was faster, more dynamic, direct and exciting! This supports the narrative of drafting Jaden Ivey to be a co-star, rather than a side kick. The Pistons would have a dynamic backcourt similar to the methodical Chauncey Billups and the speedy Richard “Rip” Hamilton.
They have a ways to go before reaching their legend, but the ability is evident. Cunningham played at an all-star level, despite the short season. He averaged 20 points, six rebounds and six assists in twelve games, but it was clear to see he needs help. Star power, not just a viable second option like Bojan Bogdanovic.
So while Cade will still be the straw that stirs the drink, the emergence of Ivey and Duren would distract defenses from focusing on him. Who cares if you don’t believe Cunningham is a star, his rookie season ended with him top 20 in double team rate. And the other stars in the league from Lebron James to DeMar Derozan have all spoken highly of him.
That helps to disarms critics often saying the young star hasn’t helped the team win. But it’s been proven you need 2-3 all-star level players in order to truly compete.
Offense through Ivey and Duren?
Here’s a shocker, the Detroit Pistons are not going to make the playoffs. We know who Bogdanovic and Burks are, and though it makes the offense run more smooth it’s not what we signed up for. Fans wanted to see the rookies running the show in a rebuild, once they proved capable.
I agree with coach Dwane Casey wanting to nurture the process before hand, which has paid great dividends so far. But Ivey and Duren are proving to be farther ahead of the curve than most rookies. I’ve waited all season for the Ivey to inevitably fall off, and he just hasn’t. Not that I want it, but it’s just the type of thing that happens to Detroit sports hope. Instead Ivey has shown he had more to his arsenal than many gave credit. His ability to make plays and get to the free throw line has been just as encouraging as his shooting. He’s up to 33.5% from three on the year, and 40% the last 10 games.
I attribute part of his improvement to the budding connection developing with Jalen Duren. The rookie big man has provided a pick and roll, lob threat the team’s missed since Andre Drummond. But he does it playing to his strength and better parts of his game, unlike Drummond. His passing ability is a very underrated part of his game that’s helped him assist teammates cutting through the lane. That unselfish nature, focusing on all the other plays out there is what makes him fit so well as as a third potential star. Duren’s athleticism, work ethic and measurable’s already rank well, but as his offensive game develops he would be an unquestioned star.
My Humble Plea
So for the final 25 games of the season, I’m pleading with the Pistons to run the show through Ivey and Duren. No matter how bad it may look at times. The experience of learning from mistakes will serve better than playing complimentary to Bojan and Burks in route to last place.
The Pistons plays the Boston Celtics, Wednesday, February 15th at 7:30 PM.
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