The Pistons and an uncomfortable conversation about Jaden Ivey

Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons are in a freefall, punctuated by last night's drubbing at the hands of the Knicks in which Jaden Ivey shot 2-of-14 for nine points.

Detroit is shorthanded, playing a rotation that might be the worst we've seen in four years, which is saying a lot considering the Pistons have finished each of them with G-Leaguers and recent signings getting minutes.

Even before the Pistons were missing most of their team, Jaden Ivey was mired in a slump that has led to widespread speculation that he could be traded this summer.

Next. Recent Mock Draft has Pistons selecting Jaden Ivey's replacement. Recent Mock Draft has Pistons selecting Jaden Ivey's replacement. dark

Continuing in our series of tough conversations that started with Jalen Duren, there are questions that need to be asked about Jaden Ivey.

What does Jaden Ivey's next level look like?

Jaden Ivey is only 22 and has flashed star potential at times this season. He had a stretch in February when it looked like he was putting it together, though now it looks more like streaky shooting, as he's been consistently bad for much of the rest of the season.

Almost all of Ivey's counting stats are down from last season, including his points, rebounds, assists and 3-point percentage, though he is shooting a slightly better 43 percent from the field overall, which is up from his rookie campaign.

His recent stretch is not just a few games, as Ivey has shot just 37 percent over his last 20 games and just 23 percent from 3-point range on 5.4 attempts per game. So Ivey has continued to launch threes even though he's not making them and is shooting just 32 percent on the season.

Ivey has been mismanaged at times this season, and Monty Williams has never given him a consistent and clear role, but it's concerning that he has regressed in most areas offensively and is still a poor defender, though he has put in work and effort on that end.

Can Jaden Ivey be a more efficient scorer? Can he continue to improve his defense? Will he improve as a 3-point shooter? Is he better off being moved to the bench? Can he provide consistency or will he always be a streaky athletic marvel who can get to the rim but not do much else?

Does Jaden Ivey fit with Cade Cunningham?

This is one of the most important questions the Detroit Pistons have to answer moving forward.

Theoretically yes, Ivey can fit with Cade, as a secondary ball handler who can draw defenders and slash to the rim can work with Cunningham at the point.

But right now, Ivey's mid-range game has regressed, he's taking and missing a ton of 3-point shots and he's still the weaker defender of the two.

Ideally, the two-guard next to Cade Cunningham would be a good defender who can spread the floor and right now, Ivey is not those things.

That doesn't mean the Pistons should trade him necessarily, but if they think this isn't going to work, they have to consider it or possibly a different role for Ivey than the one he is playing now.

He's better with the ball in his hands, which can work, especially if Monty Williams staggers his two guards, but right now, the fit is questionable with Ivey starting next to Cade.

They have to figure it out, as this relationship is one of the most important and the Pistons either need to find a way to make it work with other roster adjustments or they may have to consider moving on.