Jaden Ivey will be one of the best players taken in the NBA Draft. However, with his words and actions of him, it is quite obvious that he hopes to end up with the Detroit Pistons.
Pistons fans had to suffer from many of their best players trying to pack their bags and get out of town as soon as their agents could arrange everything. However, the last year has been different.
Veterans who may be at other clubs, such as Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk, and Cory Joseph, are more than happy to stay in Motor City. All talk about Grant’s departure revolves around his expiring contract and his age. It has nothing to do with him wanting to play somewhere else.
Last year’s # 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, agreed to come to Detroit immediately:
This year, former Purdue guard Jaden Ivey has pretty much done everything but standing outside the home of Pistons CEO Troy Weaver with splints saying, “Draft me!” (It’s from a movie, ask your parents).
And Ivey put his wish into action. He only trained privately for two teams: Orlando (who has pick # 1)…. and Detroit.
Considering Ivey is expected to go from 2nd to 6th place, it would seem a little odd that he only worked for two of the top six teams. Unless the goal is, if not number 1, to be in Detroit.
Of course, a team can still draft a player even if they haven’t trained with them. A player goes where he is drafted, unless it is Kobe Bryant (who refused to go to Charlotte, who enlisted him, and forced him into an exchange with the Lakers).
Now, Ivey hasn’t openly said he only wants to go to Detroit if he’s not number 1 (even if it looks like truly I do not want to go in Sacramento). But, in this interview with The Spun, he clarifies his fondness for the Pistons:
I’d like to go anywhere, but not Detroit, my mom [Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey] played for Detroit Shock in the WNBA. I lived in the area and I know how it is. Detroit [which picks fifth overall] it might be an option.
Now, the question is, should Ivey want to come to Detroit give him an edge over other potential recruits?
Should the Detroit Pistons recruit Jaden Ivey because he likes them?
Most players are just happy to be drafted, it’s the culmination of years of hard work (made more difficult by having to deal with the pandemic in the past couple of years). In most cases, where they go is almost random.
Yes, Ivey has reported that he wants to wear the Pistons uniform and play at Little Caesars Arena. But it’s not that other candidates who might go to number 5 wouldn’t agree to end up in Detroit too.
Bennedict Mathurin is Canadian, Detroit’s proximity to his home country would be good for him. Keegan Murray’s father is a former Mr. Michigan Basketball from Battle Creek, so he also has local connections.
But, having been rejected so many times in the past, is it the safest way for Weaver to simply choose the guy who wants to be here? Rookie contracts expire in 4-5 years, so Ivey isn’t the smart choice if you want a long-term player?
Now, it’s not exactly a scope for Detroit to enlist Ivey. For much of the draft of the season, most experts ranked Ivey at number 4, right behind the “Big 3”.
Ivey can be taken by the Pistons for purely basketball reasons. For a not very athletic team, Ivey would give Detroit the necessary boost.
But if Weaver and Pistons brass think Mathurin is more suitable, Murray is the safest choice to be a collaborator, does knowing Ivey want to come here give him a slight edge over others?
Whether he becomes a determining factor or not, it’s good for Pistons fans to know that if they choose Jaden Ivey, it will really be, truly happy to come here.