Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey Has Exceeded Season Expectations
Jaden Ivey has proven to be more of a hero than a sidekick for the Detroit Pistons. Observers wondered what type of player the Purdue product could be next to star Cade Cunningham. Would Ivey be something complimentary, or did he possess ability to be more Superman to Cade’s Batman?
From the introductory press conference up to now, the Pistons organization has spoken glowingly of Jaden Ivey. “I’m more excited than I’ve ever been” were the words Troy Weaver used when the Detroit Pistons drafted Jaden Ivey. And coach Dwane Casey “the history and story behind Jaden is unbelievable, and like a fairy tale.”
They coveted Jaden Ivey’s speed and thought it would be transformative for the rebuild. “He added a skill that Cade and Killian weren’t born with,” Casey said. “He is one of the quickest in the league… we do want to play faster.”
But Ivey has shown more skills than originally advertised in the absence of Cunningham who’s been out since game thirteen of the season. Which is a good thing for the team, and Cunningham who was double teamed more than any other rookie last season. And when the ball left his hands the Pistons offense suffered in isolation, late game situations, as well as in the pick and roll.
Since Ivey’s move to point guard the rookie has seemed more confident and sure about things on the offensive side. His averages over the last ten games are impressive, showing there may be even more to Ivey to discover. He’s averaged 19.2 points, 7.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 37.3% from three point range.
Where Jaden Ivey Has Passed Expectation
Two of the biggest questions Ivey faced on draft night centered around his shooting and playmaking ability.
I saw flashes of Dwyane Wade in Ivey’s game when going through pre-draft preparations and watching tons of Ivey film. He showed the ability to get to similar spots on the floor as Wade, but wasn’t finishing at the same rate. Many observers believed a mid range shot was not only out of the question, but not necessary for Ivey’s long term success.
The comparisons to a rookie Wade show Ivey has proven as versatile a three level scorer, while boasting a better three point percentage.
JADEN IVEY ( ROOKIE SEASON) via Basketball Reference
Some observers wondered what Ivey would be with the ball in his hands in the NBA. Would he be a runaway freight train, or a composed shot of speed. He’s been somewhere on both sides during his rookie campaign, but the good has been really good.
Jaden Ivey has shown more than advertised and answered the questions this season.
— Brandon Dent | @WoodwardSports #DetroitKoolAid (@DetroitKoolAid) April 3, 2023
He’s led all rookies in assists per game and total assists, and has continued to improve his decision making.
Room For Improvement
…Somewhere on both sides. As good as Jaden Ivey has been with playmaking, he’s also had fair share of turnovers. Ivey currently leads all rookies in turnovers per game as well as total turnovers as he’s adjusted to different roles all season.
The miscues look correctable and more related to figuring out NBA defense and just how fast it really is.
If Ivey is going to reach the levels of elite that Dwyane Wade did, it’s going to start and end on the defensive side. He has the skillset to wreak havoc on opposing guards, and the measurable’s to switch and defend bigger players.
Defense is where I hope to see Ivey take the biggest leap in development over the summer. Specifically in these three areas:
Knowing when drop coverage is necessary to help the big in the paint
Not reaching at the weak side guard dribbling in for a layup
Improving on ball defense even when person he’s defending doesn’t have the ball.
What’s Next for the Detroit Pistons
Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons play the Miami Heat, Tuesday, April 4th at 7:00 PM.