Detroit Pistons: Jalen Duren has “Goin’ to Work” pedigree

Jalen Duren #2 of the Memphis Tigers (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Jalen Duren #2 of the Memphis Tigers (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons were ecstatic to walk away from the 2022 NBA Draft with two players they coveted in Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.

The Pistons are obviously looking for talent, but they also want guys who fit the culture of hard work and effort that they are trying to build.

They are also looking for guys who want to be in Detroit, which seems to be the case with both Ivey (who has family connections to the city) and Duren, who was coached by two Pistons’ legends.

The 18-year-old center will be the youngest player in the NBA next season, but has the pedigree to make an impact, especially as he continues to develop as a player.

Detroit Pistons: Jalen Duren is “Goin’ to Work”

The “Goin’ to Work” era Pistons really symbolize what Detroit basketball is all about, as they were a smart, hard-working, unselfish group that played with a chip on their collective shoulder.

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That team’s incredible basketball IQ is evidenced by the impressive coaching tree that has grown from that group, as there are now eight former players from that era who are either coaching or in a front office.

That includes former forward Rasheed Wallace and coach Larry Brown, who were both assistants at Memphis last season (Wallace has since joined the Lakers) where Jalen Duren played his freshman season.

While Duren will take some time to develop, especially offensively, he has been mentored by two former Pistons, and Larry Brown thinks he has landed in the perfect spot to succeed in Detroit.

This is what he had to say about Duren and the Pistons in a recent chat with the Detroit Free Press:

"“Penny (Hardaway, Memphis head coach) has the mindset like an NBA coach, so he prepares these kids to play later on. But we switch ball screens and he’s very capable staying in front of people. He can really run. He runs from endline to endline as fast as any big kid. He can catch, he can pass the ball. He sometimes will make a pass that’s not exactly perfect, but the fact that he recognizes somebody is open, you can’t teach that.”“I just think he’s in a perfect situation,” Brown said. “Sometimes you get drafted and you’re a young player and you go to a bad team, there’s a reason they’re bad. Maybe it’s bad coaching, maybe it’s management, maybe it’s bad locker room or culture. It can be a problem for you. The top draft picks usually go to teams that are struggling. But he’s going to a team that maybe didn’t win a lot of games, but you’ve got great character pieces with young kids around him, and I think a really good coach and a really good culture there. That’s gonna help Jalen.”"

He also compared Jalen Duren to the Heat’s Bam Adebayo for his ability to run the floor and switch on the perimeter.

Few people are better equipped to understand how a guy will fit the culture of the Detroit Pistons than the guy who led them to their last title.

Duren hopes to help the Pistons get their next one and has landed in the ideal situation for both him and the team.

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