The Detroit Pistons entered Thursday night with a hole in their backcourt and came out with one of the most athletic guards in the draft.
The Pistons selected Jaden Ivey as their fifth overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. A year after adding a potential star to Cade Cunningham with pick no. 1, the Pistons have made a swing and will pair Cunningham with a high fast break with the tools to become a go-to option.
The Sacramento Kings took Iowa Keegan Murray forward to number 4, giving way for Ivey to come to the Pistons.
Ivey, who has many family ties to Detroit, burst into tears after Commissioner Adam Silver announced the choice, before hugging his mother, Notre Dame women’s basketball coach and former Detroit shock guard Niele Ivey. .
“That’s it, man,” Ivey said on stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I’ve been working day in and day out just to get to this level. I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her and I’m so happy.
“I’ll give it my all every single day,” he continued. I’ll work hard to help my team win and I’ll give it my all. ”
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Ivey had a successful second season at Purdue, averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He is a gifted athlete, perhaps the best first step in the draft, which allows him to break down defenses and get to the rim with ease. This, coupled with his explosive vertical, turned him into a nighttime highlight in college and will give the Pistons a jolt when he’s on the floor.
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He was widely expected to make it into the top four and some analysts considered him the player with the highest rise in the draft. According to sources, rival teams inquired about Ivey’s availability in a trade even after the pick had come. The Pistons, for now, intend to keep him.
Ivey comes from an athletic family. His grandfather, James Hunter, was a cornerback for the Detroit Lions from 1976 to 1982 and died in Allen Park in 2010. Ivey’s father, Javin Hunter, was born and raised in Detroit, attended Detroit Country Day, and is was a big receiver for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers from 2002 to 2006. Ivey’s mother, Niele Ivey, played for the Detroit Shock in 2005.
“I’m almost speechless,” Niele said. “It’s his dream come true, to be in Detroit. We have so many wonderful roots in Detroit. For him to get on that stage, I’m so joyful and happy for him.”
With Ivey in tow, the Pistons now have one of the NBA’s most dynamic young backcourts. He completes Cunningham as an athletic guard who can easily go downhill and has a chance to become a fan favorite thanks to his athletic dunks. Cunningham will be able to take the pressure off Ivey as a handyman guard who can space the floor.
Ivey is the Pistons’ fifth pick in the first round under the leadership of general manager Troy Weaver, joining Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey.
The Orlando Magic surprised by taking Duke forward Paolo Banchero to number 1, the Oklahoma City Thunder picked Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren with second pick, and the Houston Rockets grabbed forward Auburn Jabari Smith Jr. in number 3.
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