Detroit Pistons: Zach Lowe betting on Jaden Ivey, but with a catch

Jaden Ivey #23 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Jaden Ivey #23 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have the worst record in the league, but the season hasn’t been a complete loss, as Jaden Ivey has gotten plenty of time to grown and develop.

When Cade Cunningham went down, Ivey became the de facto point guard and has had some of the problems you would expect from a rookie guard, namely with decision making and turnovers.

He is also still learning to harness his electric speed, and still has a long way to go on defense, but he has steadily improved all season and keeps climbing up the rookie rankings, hoping to earn a spot on the All-Rookie team.

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His improvement is getting some national attention, as recently Zach Lowe of ESPN featured him in his “10 Things” article (SUBSCRIPTION), praising Ivey’s improvement with pace and using hesitation moves combined with his explosive athleticism to get buckets at the rim and in the mid-range.

This is some of what Lowe had to say about his improvement:

"“But Ivey has gotten steadier almost every week, showing deeper understanding of how possessions unfold — how he can slow down to manipulate defenses…There is a ton of work to do, but Ivey is a decent bet for a bigger-than-expected Year 2 leap.”"

The Detroit Pistons are counting on a big leap from Ivey coupled with the return of Cade Cunningham to get out of the cellar next season and finally start competing.

But Lowe also mentioned some of the challenges Ivey (and all the young guards) will have playing with the bigs that Troy Weaver has assembled.

Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey with two bigs

The worst part of all of the recent injuries is that we’ve not gotten to see how the Detroit Pistons plan to use four bigs in their rotation.

Troy Weaver revealed his mindset behind the Saddiq Bey trade, and that was to get bigger, but having two bigs on the court at the same time has not been successful thus far in a small sample size, and may end up having a negative impact on the young guards according to Lowe.

"“Lineups featuring any two of Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren, Marvin Bagley III, and Wiseman offer zero spacing — challenging confines for any young ball handler.”"

The Pistons have four bigs, but none of them are floor spacers, though Stewart has shown some signs of promise in that area. Wiseman and Bagley III do their best work around the rim, and most of Duren’s points have come off dunks this season.

It’s possible that Wiseman or Stewart will eventually be able to shoot enough, but right now, having two bigs on the floor isn’t working and is making things more difficult for Ivey in terms of spacing.

It’s hard to imagine the Detroit Pistons keeping all four of them, as they still need wing players, which may necessitate a trade this offseason.

Troy Weaver has rightfully been more concerned with talent than fit over the last three seasons, but as the Detroit Pistons try to pivot towards being competitive, fit around the young guards is going to matter, and that may mean ditching the two-big experiment.

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