“I want to be one of the best players to ever play basketball”. Jaden Ivey is not the type to tiptoe when he is invited somewhere. Purdue’s combo guard has too often been sidelined and underrated for his taste not to take advantage of the exposure that will be his from today. Ivey, 20, is coming out of two seasons with the Boilermakers, off the radar reserved for Duke, Kentucky and company prospects. His progression between first and second year there has been meteoric, which has taken him from relative anonymity to the status of the most electrifying talent in his position in the entire 2022 Draft.
The first step of Jaden Ivey, his ability to blast a defense by attacking the circle or by enquiring the shots, are beyond measure in this vintage and that is what convinced Detroit to bet on him with the 5th pick. Do not expect that Ivey, 1.93m below the height, plays the discretion for his first months in the NBA. The boy is calm, collected, thoughtful, but terribly ambitious and determined to prove that he should have been considered the best fullback of his generation for a longer time.
On his phone, Jaden wrote down all the goals he set for himself until the end of his career. The very people who, when he mentioned them the first time, made those who did not believe in him laugh after he did not make the cut in his high school team, on the side of Mishawaka in Indiana in its early days. Like Arya Stark with the names of his enemies, he intends to cross out the objectives one by one: to be drafted, to be Summer League MVP, Rookie of the Year, multiple All-Star, MVP, in the top 15 of top all-time scorers, top 50 passers and top 100 rebounders. Just that.
Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, the Pistons’ dream draft
If Jaden Ivey breathes the game and basketball so much, it is no coincidence. His mother, Niele Ivey, is not just anyone. The former point guard won the NCAA title with Notre Dame in 2001, before spending several seasons in the WNBA – notably in Detroit – becoming an assistant coach in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies where she worked with Ja Morant, then succeeding the emblematic Muffet McGraw on the bench of Notre Dame in 2021. Confidence, a taste for work and the desire to force doors that are a priori closed are all attractions that Jaden inherits from his mother.
The athletic qualities above average, it is rather on the side of Javin Hunter, his father, former wide receiver NFL, teammate of Shane Battier in high school and referenced long jumper, that we must seek.
Ivey still letting those emotions show hours after getting drafted pic.twitter.com/msDlVYt0VB
—Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) June 24, 2022
Just like a Morant, Ivey has the explosiveness, the ability to contort himself and play the illusionist with his opponents, at the same time as an irrational confidence that can make him pass for an arrogant boy. Morant quickly showed Memphis that it was above all proof that he should be entrusted with the leadership of the team.
With Cade Cunningham in Detroit, Jaden Ivey won’t need to be his team’s primary playmaker. He will be able to form with the n°1 of the Draft 2021 a formidable tandem, although this will probably be done at the expense of Killian Hayes at first. In any case, Dwane Casey has enough to work on and shape his roster with a game identity that will suit him. With the profiles that are emerging, one can only imagine a supercharged, spectacular, but also mature basketball. This is probably where the revival of a franchise that has only played two playoff series in 12 years, each time with a sweep at stake.