So much has been made of this season for the Detroit Pistons, almost all of it bad. Relating strictly to the roster, there were fair questions of talent, fit, and experience.
One player that continually found himself on the outs of the starting five early on was Jaden Ivey. Even though he seems to continuously prove he can, and will, make whatever adjustments the coaching staff needed him to, he still could not see consistent starting minutes. Until recently, that is.
Jaden Ivey in a bigger role for the Detroit Pistons
Going back to the beginning of December, it was reported that the front office was frustrated with Monty Williams on his usage of young, budding star Jaden Ivey. As Cade Cunningham went down last season, Ivey was forced to take on a bigger role even though he was so new to the NBA. And he definitely stepped up for Detroit. Naturally, coming into this season with a healthy Cade and knowing what Ivey is capable of, fans and staff members alike were excited.
Cut to the start of this season, and Ivey couldn’t fight his way into the starting lineup. At first, it could be described as Williams working on finding the most efficient lineup. But even after it was clear that Ivey was one of the most talented on this roster, he still could not find the minutes. Then Jaden’s defense was cited as a major reason the sophomore wasn’t getting more playing time. So Jaden improved defensively, and yet, he was still in a bench role. So, it was rumored that the Pistons brass stepped in and a discussion was had regarding Ivey’s usage.
Since the front office and Monty Williams had a discussion over Jaden Ivey and how this franchise should utilize him, Ivey has done nothing but impress. This rumored interaction came out around the beginning of December. Here is Ivey’s stat line prior to the December meeting, and since.
Jaden Ivey Prior to December F.O Meeting
Jaden Ivey Since December F.O Meeting
While some of his percentages have gone down, that can likely be equated to a larger sample size and primarily playing without a full cast for Detroit. When given the chance, minutes-wise, Ivey has evolved into a fantastic creator, who is also getting it done across the court in other ways. Averaging six more points per game, almost two more rebounds, a full assist, .3 more steals, and two more free throw attempts per game is great improvement. On top of setting a new career high (37) against Sacramento on Wednesday, Ivey continues to impress now that he’s being given consistent opportunities.
In the last three weeks, Detroit has played the likes of Russell Westbrook and Donovan Mitchell, both of whom Jaden Ivey resembles at times when in his bag. After each game, it was noted that both veterans spent some time talking with Ivey. When each player was asked what that conversation looked like, they had nothing but compliments for Detroit’s young star. It’s clear they see his talent and potential, and now that the coaching staff seems to as well based on his usage, Detroit is reaping the benefits.