Rookie Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons will kick off Summer League on Thursday and fans couldn’t be more excited.
Ivey’s electric athleticism should make him the perfect fit on both ends with the cerebral Cade Cunningham, and the two will hopefully start building that chemistry tomorrow in first game of the summer.
Rookies are asked all manner of questions during the pre-draft process and during the preseason when scouts and fans are still trying to get to know them.
One of the questions I always enjoy is when someone asks a young player to name an all-time top five, and you can learn a lot from the answers.
You might get a sense of whether this player knows anything about basketball history and which players they might have modeled themselves after when they were young.
Jaden Ivey was asked this question recently and I think his answer was interesting and somewhat surprising.
Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey’s all-time top 5
Jaden Ivey’s top five may not please fans of the Detroit Pistons, as he has two former Lakers and a player from the Boston Celtics:
His number one was Michael Jordan, which I like, as we’d see a LOT of young guys go with LeBron James or Kobe Bryant here. I am an old school fan myself and though LeBron may get there, I would agree that MJ is still the top guy…. for now. It shows that Ivey has some sense of history, as a 39-year-old Jordan was in his final season the year Ivey was born, so it’s not like he got to see him play live.
He has Lebron at number two, again no argument from me. Most basketball fans would have these two as the top guys in some order.
Magic Johnson comes in at number three. He’s a Laker and I hate the Lakers, but you can’t deny Magic’s greatness.
Even though I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with his next two choices I was somewhat surprised that a 20-year-old player dropped Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Larry Bird as his 4th and 5th best players of all time, respectively.
He definitely didn’t see either of these guys play, but Kareem is the league’s all-time leading scorer and Bird is a three-time MVP who was on some of the most dominant teams of the 1980’s. I was a bit surprised not to see Kobe Bryant on the list, as he seems to be a lot of young guy’s favorite player and Ivey’s game more closely resembles his stylistically than it does Larry Bird’s.
He’s not going to endear himself to Pistons’ fans with those choices, as he basically just named three of our most hated players, so maybe he could have snuck Isiah Thomas in there instead of Bird.
The interesting thing about this list is that none of them (other than Michael Jordan) really had games that were/are anything like Ivey, who relies on elite end-to-end speed. But like MJ, Ivey is a tenacious defender, an underrated part of his game, and also like Jordan, Ivey does it with athleticism and effort on that end.
It’s a small thing, but I find these types of lists interesting as they give us a little insight to what players are like as fans, as we sometimes forget that they watch basketball too.