The Detroit Pistons’ rookies got some exciting news this week, as both were named Rising Stars for the upcoming All-Star Weekend.
There were 11 players from this year’s draft class, showing just how deep and talented this group is, as there were only 10 on the Sophomore team, though that would obviously had been different had Cade Cunningham not been injured this season.
Detroit would have had three players otherwise, which is exciting for a rebuilding team looking to the future. It appears as though they have found three of the pieces and now just need to figure out how to build a quality team around them.
Jalen Duren has been a monster since joining the starting lineup, as he has averaged 10.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19 games, flashing elite athleticism and skills that are well beyond his age as the youngest player in the league.
It’s been more up and down for rookie Jaden Ivey, though his 15.1 points, 4.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds are impressive when you consider that he’s had to take on a bigger role with Cunningham out.
What’s even more exciting is that the two seem to be building nice chemistry together, as Ivey has averaged over six assists per game over his last 10, many of them setting up Duren for dunks.
But all of those positives didn’t stop the two Detroit rookies from taking a slide on the Kia Rookie Ladder this week.
Detroit Pistons: KIA Rookie Ladder
The KIA Rookie Ladder is the NBA’s weekly ranking of rookies and both Ivey and Duren have been mainstays this season, with both being featured in the top-10 and even top-5 for most of the season.
Even though his numbers have been steady all season, Ivey has slipped to 6th after being as high as 2nd early in the season.
Duren dropped one spot to 8th on the list, largely due to a lack of rebounding this week, though his scoring numbers have gone up.
This really has more to do with the players ahead of them, as Jalen Williams (OKC), Walker Kessler (Utah) and Keegan Murray (SAC) have all come on of late and are playing on better teams that are either in or trying to reach the playoff race.
Both Pistons’ rookies still have a very good chance to make the All-Rookie team, but will need a strong finish to nab first-team honors when the season ends.