The Detroit Pistons have a Jaden Ivey problem

Detroit Pistons v San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons and new team president Trajan Langdon have plenty of work to do this summer to fix a roster that just finished with the worst record in team history. 

One of the most interesting developments to watch is how Langdon values the young players the Pistons already have. Does he view Cade Cunningham as a future star worth building around or a secondary piece? 

How about Jaden Ivey? Does he see Ivey as a big part of the future, a possible trade chip, a role player? 

Related Story. 1 Possible trade with every team in the NBA Draft lottery. 1 Possible trade with every team in the NBA Draft lottery. dark

Regardless of what Langdon thinks of Ivey, the Detroit Pistons are in a tough spot when it comes to his future and role with the team. 

Jaden Ivey isn’t a great fit with Cade Cunningham 

Ok, we’ve talked about this endlessly, so I won’t belabor the point, but thus far, Ivey hasn’t been the type of two-guard you’d ideally put next to Cade, as he doesn’t defend or shoot at a high level. 

The two have only played 68 games together, so the sample size is small, but so far, it has not been encouraging. Both players have been better with the other one not on the court, and Ivey is shooting just 43 percent from the field and 31 percent from long range in his games with Cade. 

You could argue they haven’t played together enough, that they are both still young and that Ivey has room to grow as a shooter and defender. You could also argue that Ivey would be valuable off the bench if the Pistons land other players, but his fit with Cade is an issue. 

Ivey’s value is low, and his upside is high 

Ivey is coming off a season where his counting numbers got worse, and he didn’t make the kind of progress the team was hoping for. 

You can blame some of that on Monty Williams, who jerked him around too much, but Ivey got plenty of chances and actually looked to regress from the level he was at toward the end of his rookie season. 

He doesn’t have a ton of trade value, as some of the shine is off his status as a top five pick, but he’s shown enough upside that trading him away for peanuts would be foolish. In the right deal, moving Ivey could make sense, but if the Pistons are looking at a garbage trade, he’s not worth giving away, as there is too much potential there still to be tapped. 

Keeping Jaden Ivey carries risk for the Detroit Pistons too 

There is some amount of risk in keeping Ivey around. As low as his value is, we could look back and say it’s as high as it ever was. What if Ivey doesn’t improve? What if he has to accept a lesser role? Where would his trade value be then? 

He’s extension eligible next summer and if he improves, I’m sure the Pistons will be happy to make him an offer, but if he doesn’t, they may be stuck overpaying for a young player who is still unproven after three years in the league, trading him for next to nothing or allowing him to play out his final year and become a free agent.

With Duren eligible at the same time, and Ausar Thompson a year later, Detroit is going to have some tough decisions about who stays and goes. 

This isn’t an easy spot for the Pistons, who are trying to balance their desire to improve with the long-term future of their young talent.