After four seasons of tanking, the Detroit Pistons finally have a talented young core of players to build around.
They are led by Cade Cunningham, but you’d find debate about who will be better out of Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson and Jalen Duren.
Both Ivey and Duren had strong rookie campaigns and showed signs of big things to come. They are both plus athletes who need improvement in the nuances of the game, especially on defense.
There are some out there who believe it is Duren, not Ivey who will eventually be Cade Cunningham’s top sidekick, as he was the youngest player in the NBA last season and already showed skill as a rebounder and passer.
But national publications are still focused on Ivey and one writer left Duren out of the conversation completely.
Detroit Pistons: National writer overlooks Jalen Duren
In a recent article, longtime NBA writer Steve Aschburner (who is known for writing the Rookie Ladder) named 10 sophomores to watch in the 2023-24 season.
It wasn’t surprising to see Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero at the top of the list with Jalen Williams from the Thunder just behind him in the second spot, but beyond that, you’d get plenty of debate.
Here is the entire list:
- 1. Paolo Banchero
- 2. Jalen Williams
- 3. Walker Kessler
- 4. Bennedict Mathurin
- 5. Keegan Murray
- 6. Jaden Ivey
- 7. Jabari Smith Jr.
- 8. Shaedon Sharpe
- 9. Jeremy Sochan
- 10. Mark Williams
First off, I would put Ivey head of Walker Kessler, Bennedict Mathurin and Keegan Murray based only on potential. If you dig into the numbers, Ivey had a better season than Mathurin. Kessler is one-dimensional (though very good at that what he does) and Murray profiles more as a high-end role player on a good team. But all of that is debatable and I am certainly biased towards Ivey.
The real diss came at the end of the list when Aschburner put Mark Williams in the 10th spot ahead of Jalen Duren.
Duren is younger, played more games last season and put up better stats than Williams, who was limited to 43 games. Duren is a better athlete, passer, rebounder and scored more points than Williams while playing in 67 games last season. What am I missing here?
It’s possible he just wanted to spread the love and not have two Detroit Pistons on the list, but otherwise I don’t see any world in which Williams is better than Duren.
Ultimately these types of rankings don’t matter and I am sure we will see my point proven on the court next season when Duren is once again objectively better than Williams.