Detroit Pistons: Choosing athleticism and pace in the 2022 NBA Draft

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, 2022 NBA Draft, Jaden Ivey
Jaden Ivey #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

With the NBA Finals set to begin June 2nd, preparation for the 2022 NBA Draft is intensifying. Teams are beginning to ramp up their preparation process, and have even more information after the conclusion of the 2022 NBA Draft Combine. For the Detroit Pistons, the fifth pick will likely come down to several players, leaving fans to speculate who fits best with the currently constructed roster.

One popular name that continues to draw attention is Jaden Ivey. After a superb sophomore season at Purdue, the 6-foot-4 guard declared for the NBA Draft, and is projected to go within the upper half of the lottery. With the Sacramento Kings picking at four, and Ivey being linked to them in several mock drafts, there’s a chance Ivey could be off the board by the time the Detroit Pistons pick at five. However, this year’s draft is filled with uncertainties, especially after the third overall pick. Here’s a look at Ivey’s strengths and weaknesses, and how he can possibly fit with the Pistons.

Detroit Pistons draft: Jaden Ivey’s strengths

In a relatively deep draft class, Ivey has a strong case for being the most athletic at this point. From end to end, Ivey was as fast as anyone in college basketball last year, and often served as a one-man fast break for the Boilermakers. Whether it was in the half court or transition, Ivey utilized his speed to blow by defenses all year. Impressively, Ivey also showed an ability to change speeds, and play at a more deliberate pace at times, keeping defenses off balance, and allowing him to shift gears whenever necessary. With pace being such an integral factor in the NBA, Ivey’s ability to change pace, coupled with his first step, should allow him to adjust quickly to the tempo of today’s game.

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While his jumper may still be a work in progress, Ivey’s improvement from his freshman to sophomore year was undeniable from behind the arc. After shooting just 25.8 percent from three in his freshman season, the 6-foot-4 guard shot 35.8 percent from long range in his second season of college basketball, increasing his three point percentage by ten points. Ivey also shot 46 percent from the field, after shooting below 40 percent his freshman year. While he may not enter the league as a knockdown sniper from behind the arc, Ivey certainly is capable of becoming a respectable shooter at the NBA level, and could possibly become a player who flirts with shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.

As much as his offensive game is predicated on getting to the rim and past defenders, defensively is where Ivey’s athleticism truly shines through. With a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Ivey was a defensive stalwart last season, fighting through screens, getting chase down blocks, and picking pockets.

Defensively, Ivey exerted his top-notch athleticism on teams, and while he didn’t statistically stand out in one category (0.6 blocks per game, 0.9 steals per game), his tenacity and competitiveness on this end is more than evident when watching him. Bringing in this defensive intensity, along with his physical tools, should fit right in with the culture Dwane Casey and his staff are looking to build, with defense serving as one of the foundational pieces.