Rivalry brewing for Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons

Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

If there is one thing I lament about the current state of the NBA, it’s the lack of rivalries. The Detroit Pistons were once at the center of some of the best rivalries in NBA history against the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls, but those days are long gone. 

Part of it is that the Pistons have stunk for so long they haven’t had a chance to build or maintain rivalries, which are usually born in the playoffs in intense games. When you haven’t won a playoff game since the Obama administration and have been the worst team in the NBA since, it’s hard for fans or players to really care about the Detroit Pistons. 

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But it’s not just the Pistons. Rivalries are down in the NBA and change from year to year, as stars are constantly changing teams and half of them are friends anyway. The days of teams having the same cast of players over an era are over. 

The best we can hope for are some repeated playoff matchups and that individual rivalries spill over to the teams, which could happen with Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons. 

Could the Indiana Pacers be the Detroit Pistons’ rival again? 

After the glory days of the Bad Boys, the Pistons moved onto other rivalries, including an intense one with the Indiana Pacers that culminated infamously in the Malice at the Palace. Since then, things have cooled, as the Pacers have been up and down, the Pistons terrible, and the two haven’t really been good at the same time since, including this season. 

There won’t be a real rivalry until the Pistons step up and join the Pacers as playoff hopefuls, and if that ever happens, the faded rivalry could be reinvigorated. 

I’m sure Tyrese Haliburton will always remember that the Detroit Pistons passed on him in favor of Killian Hayes in the draft and want to stick it to Detroit when the play, which he has over the last two seasons. 

The Pistons also passed on his teammate Bennedict Mathurin for Jaden Ivey, and these two seem to legitimately dislike each other. They’ve gone at it in their head-to-head matchups, including last night at the Rising Stars game, where the trash talk was more than just friendly banter. 

The scaffolding of a rivalry is there, but none of this will matter until Detroit is good again, and by then, who knows, both guys could be on other teams, but they are on a trajectory to butt heads again soon if the Pistons can just get on track. 

It would be nice to be good enough to have a rivalry again, as it’s the thing I miss the most about the “old days,” when the Detroit Pistons were good, and we knew who to hate.