The Detroit Pistons entered Thursday night with a hole in their backcourt, and exited with one of the most athletic guards in the draft.
The Pistons selected Jaden Ivey with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. A year after adding a potential star in Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick, the Pistons took a swing and will pair Cunningham with a high-upside off-guard with the tools to become a go-to option.
The Sacramento Kings took Iowa forward Keegan Murray at No. 4, making way for Ivey to come to the Pistons.
The Orlando Magic surprised by taking Duke forward Paolo Banchero at No. 1, the Oklahoma City Thunder picked Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren with the second pick and the Houston Rockets grabbed Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. at No. 3.
Ivey had a breakout sophomore season at Purdue, averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He’s a gifted athlete with perhaps the best first-step in the draft, enabling him to break down defenses and get to the rim with ease. That, along with his explosive vertical, turned him into a nightly highlight reel in college and will give the Pistons a jolt when he’s on the floor.
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Ivey has Detroit ties and comes from an athletic family. His grandfather, James Hunter, was a cornerback for the Detroit Lions from 1976-82 and passed away in Allen Park in 2010. Ivey’s father, Javin Hunter, was born and raised in Detroit, attended Detroit Country Day and was a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers from 2002-06. Ivey’s mom, Niele Ivey, played for the Detroit Shock in 2005 and is currently the head coach for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team.
Ivey is the Pistons’ fifth first-round pick under general manager Troy Weaver, joining Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey.
More to come on freep.com.
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