Little Caesars Arena (LCA) was the place to be on Thursday night. The Detroit Pistons held their official draft party. And many fans attended, hoping something special would happen. Well, it did. When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the Sacramento Kings would select Keegan Murray with the fourth overall pick, LCA erupted.
The fans were screaming. They high-fived each other. They jumped for joy. Any type of expression of happiness you could imagine, they expressed it. Why? Because it happened again. For the second year in a row, the Pistons got their man.
Last year it was Cade Cunningham. This year, it’s Jaden Ivey.
The Pistons selected Ivey with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. And immediately after the selection, he became emotional.
Ivey coming [back] to Detroit is a full circle moment for him and his family. For starters, his grandfather, James “Hound Dog” Hunter played all six years of his never career with the Detroit Lions. Hunter, who also made the 1976 Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team, is 7th all-time in interceptions for the Lions (27).
Then there’s his parents.
His father, Javin, briefly played in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Before that, however, he led Detroit Country Day to three state titles in basketball. And keeping with the basketball roots, there’s his mother, Niele. Niele Ivey played the last season of her WNBA career with the now-defunct, Detroit Shock.
With so many Detroit roots in place, joining the Pistons appeared to be almost destiny for Jaden Ivey.
“This is everything, man,” Ivey said after the Pistons selected him. “I worked day in and day out just to get to this level. I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her and I’m just so happy.
“I’m going to give it my all every single day… I’m going to work my hardest to help my team win and just going to give it my all.”
Shortly after the Pistons selected Ivey, they swung a trade to land Memphis’ Jalen Duren, another coveted target for Pistons general manager Troy Weaver.
In three years, Weaver has changed the face of the Detroit Pistons.
In year one, he selected Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart. Then in year two, he drafted the franchise’s cornerstone, Cade Cunningham. And now, in year three, he lands both Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.
Things are looking up for Detroit Basketball in the Motor City. And judging by the energy in Little Caesars Arena, Pistons’ fans can feel it as well.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.