Despite the fact that preseason basketball doesn’t count, it’s still not ideal to go 0-4 at any point. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t good things for the Pistons to take from these games. In fact, Troy Weaver’s two first round picks Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey both showed they seemed ready for the NBA stage. The guard out of Purdue was available for all four contests, and showed massive amounts of potential. It might not show up on the box score, averaging 12 points per game shooting 34 percent from the field. However, Ivey had flashes on both ends of the court that showed he is ready for the NBA game. Not everything is pretty yet, but at 20 4 preseason games in, that can be expected.
Pistons have a game-breaking athlete in Jaden Ivey
One problem that has plagued the Pistons for years has been their lack of athleticism. Outside of Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings, Detroit has been mostly slow and unathletic in their back court through most of the 2010’s. That will no longer be the case with Jaden Ivey. On day one, Ivey has a legitimate case as one of the fastest players in the NBA. His ability to both accelerate and decelrate is going to be his biggest asset. Ivey will be able to blow by most defenders in the league, and will create opportunities for himself and his teammates that just weren’t avaialable for the Pistons last year.
Not only does Jaden Ivey’s speed help him with getting to the basket, but it also helps him get to the free throw line. In their matchup with the Pelicans, Ivey was able to get to the line for 9 free throw attemps. All 9 of them were made, as Ivey is a good free throw shooter. Jaden averaged 74 percent from the line in his season at Purdue, and shot 88 percent in four games this preseason. If Ivey can shoot around 80 percent from the line, and continue to get those opportunities, that will be a big asset. The Pistons were 29th in the league last season at getting to the free throw line. There’s a strong possibility Ivey could lead the team in attempts at th eline this season.
Jaden Ivey showed potential on the defensive end
In an interview with James Edwards III of The Athletic, Ivey revealed that he was challenged by Troy Weaver to be great on the defensive end. “He wants me to be part of this culture that they’re building on that side of the ball. I want that challenge.” Through his first two preseason games, it was apparent that he did indeed want the smoke. One play that stood out in particular was a block he had against Oklahoma City. Not only did he get up with extension for the rejection, but in addition, was able to get his hands on the ball and force a jump ball. Jaden Ivey has all the physical gifts to be a lock down defender. And if he stays committed on that side of the ball, he can be as good as he wants to be.
Jaden Ivey has room to grow, but will be good early
One thing that was clear through preseason was that Jaden Ivey is an extremely talented player. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t flaws. Like any guard coming into the league, Ivey will need to learn to take care of the basketball. In his first game against the Knicks, the rookie guard was able to take care of the ball and not force any turnovers. The next game, Jaden turned over the ball 7 times, the majority of them coming in the second half. The turnover numbers will go down over time, but taking care of the basketball isn’t just about the turnover battle. It also comes down to shot selection.
At times, Jaden Ivey is really efficient from the field. In this preseason as a whole, Ivey shot 34 percent from the field, and 14 percent from beyond the arc. These numbers aren’t anything to react to, but does perhaps mean Ivey was trying to force things on the offensive end at times. Part of learning the NBA game is learning which shots to take and which shots to pass up. And with as much talent as there is on the court, the Pistons don’t need the young guard to be the hero. When he plays in the flow of the offense, Ivey has had some good looks and some opportunities to score the basketball. It will be interesting to see how his approach changes in the regular season.
Although it is early, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about Jaden Ivey. He looks ready to be on the NBA level, and although he won’t be perfect, he will definitely have potential to be an impact player. At this stage of his career, that impact has the potential some nights to be positive. And at times can lead to mistakes and turnovers. However, under the guidance of Dwane Casey, and the support system the rookie guard has, Ivey seems primed for the challenge.
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