After the departure of Jerami Grant the Detroit Pistons will look to fill the void by committee. Rookie guard Jaden Ivey could be the answer to a gaping hole left behind by Grant’s trade to Portland.
Grant was the team’s best at getting free throws, averaging 5.5 attempts per game. The team struggled getting to the line without Grant, with the next highest player averaging 3.1 attempts in Saddiq Bey. The Pistons may need to find the production elsewhere if they want to compete in Cade Cunningham’s second year.
This is an area Ivey can contribute to immediately in his rookie season. He’s known for being a lightning quick guard with elite athleticism. However his ability to get to the free throw line could be his biggest strength to the Detroit Pistons early on.
Detroit Pistons: How Jaden Ivey will fill in for Jerami Grant
One of the best in college
Jaden Ivey had the ability in college to get to the free throw line. In his second year at Purdue he averaged 5.8 attempts per game, knocking them down at a 74 percent clip for the season. Paola Banchero was a mismatch nightmare for defenders and the number one pick in the 2022 NBA draft. Ivey proved to get more free throws than the 6-foot-10 forward as he finished the season slightly below at 5.5 attempts. This is a testament to how Ivey seeks out contact with his relentless play. He was one of the best in the Big Ten at getting to the charity stripe and that very well could translate over in the NBA.
Summer league showed him in spacing
He has the type of skill set that blossoms with the spacing of the NBA. We saw some flashes of that in his brief summer league stint before sitting out with an ankle injury. During the two games he only played thirty-seven minutes, with only five in the second game. He managed to rack up 31 points 6 rebounds and 8 assists on the floor, benefiting tremendously from the spacing he found in the association that he often didn’t have in college.
The most impressive stat to me was free throw attempts, as he managed to sustain his college numbers shooting six in each game. When you factor in he only played five minutes the second game it makes it more promising that it will be a strength to his game. On those twelve attempts he made all of them showing his ability not just to get there but to cash in.
Free throws make everyone’s job easier
The more easy baskets the better as this young team learns to win at the highest level. Getting free throws allows you to set your defense and control pace, something Cade Cunningham will find useful. Cade’s a primary ball handler so if he’s in the bonus in late games situations that’s another nuance to exploit. He’s a strong 84 percent free throw shooter and some added help getting him there wouldn’t hurt at all.
The team as a whole will benefit from Jaden Ivey and his ability to draw fouls. With no similar player on the roster he’s the most likely to pick up where Grant left off. This will be something to pay attention to early in preseason games to see how it’s forming against more comparable opponents than summer league. My guess would be more free throws are coming and they’ll be in bunches. I could see him close to five attempts as rookie, and one of the top rookies in this category.