Straying from a top three that’s been sharpied into this year’s projections, the Pistons select a running mate for last draft’s No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham. By taking Jaden Ivey, Detroit welcomes an explosive athlete with a high basketball IQ and the work ethic to match. Ivey would make a wonderful complement to Cunningham, the offensive hub of this young team. Adding a second star guard would ensure that the reigning first selection doesn’t get run into the ground.
The son of a fantastic college basketball coach, Ivey’s major leap as a sophomore at Purdue catapulted him near the top of the lottery discussion by forcing a frontcourt-centric team into letting him cook. The combo guard vastly improved his shooting stroke while remaining one of the most dynamic players in the class based on physicality and impact above the rim.
With the ball in his hands, Ivey deploys a deep bag of dribble moves with blistering speed to catch challengers off balance and attack gaps in the defense. His pull-up jumper is quite impressive—particularly when paired with exceptional at-rim finishing.
Not quite a shooting guard but certainly not a pure point, Ivey’s positional fluidity makes perfect sense next to a non-traditional floor general like Cunningham. If their development both individually and cohesively panned out the way I think it could, we might be looking at the next great backcourt duo of the current NBA.