2022 NBA Draft: Detroit Pistons get rave reviews for picking Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren

The Detroit Pistons, true to the words of GM Troy Weaver, attacked the the NBA Draft and ended the night with two lottery picks in Jaden Ivey (No. 5) and Jalen Duren (No. 13), as well as second-rounder Gabriele Procida (No. 36).

The Pistons were able to accomplish this with a mix of aggression and patience. First, they traded Jerami Grant in a deal that had people scratching their heads on Wednesday but was made much clearer by Thursday night. He received a low first-round pick in 2025 in the deal but also was able to send Grant without taking back any salary in return.

That proved to be important because he was able to take advantage of New York’s desperation to get off some money in its pursuit of Jalen Brunson and take on the contract of Kemba Walker as well as that low-first from the Grant deal and flip it for the 13th pick where they got one of their favorite big men in the draft in Jalen Duren.

The move to get Ivey required a little more patience. The Sacramento Kings made a lot of noise about being willing to trade the pick because so many people were desperate to trade up to draft Ivey. At the same time, there was a belief that the player they really wanted to draft was Keegan Murray.

One can surmise that all the noise the Kings front office was making was an effort to get the Pistons to give up an asset to trade up one spot and draft Ivey, allowing them to pocket a modest return and still get their guy Murray at No. 5.

Instead, Weaver called their bluff and stood pat at the fifth slot. The patience paid off, the Kings kept their pick and went with Murray, and that allowed Detroit to get the explosive guard out of Purdue.

Another part of that Grant trade was moving up 10 spots in the second round, and they used that pick to draft highly regarded overseas prospect Gabriele Procida, an athletic 20-year-old, 6-foot-6 wing with a sweet stroke.

Pistons fans universally loved the draft, and the draft evaluators weren’t far behind. Many had Ivey near the top of their boards, and while there are question marks about Duren, he’s one of the youngest, most explosive big men in the draft.

Let’s take a look around the internet and see what grades the Pistons received.

Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports

5. Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey, SG, Purdue

Ivey falling to No. 5 is the best scenario for the Pistons. Ivey in the backcourt with former No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham is a strong combination and one Pistons fans should be excited about. With the way Cunningham can create off the dribble and Ivey’s flashy finishes around the rim, this is a fun, talented duo coming up in Detroit. Grade: A+

13. Detroit Pistons (via trade): Jalen Duren, C, Memphis

Duren is one of the youngest players in this draft class but has a lot of upside with his already built-out frame at 6-foot-10, 250 pounds. Duren provides an immediate presence in the lane. Grade: A+

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report

5. Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey, PG/SG, Purdue

Congrats, Motor City. You could have the Association’s most electric backcourt combo sooner than later after the Pistons paired Cade Cunningham with Ivey, who gives off serious Ja Morant vibes.

Ivey is electricity personified. He pairs the burst of a track star with the aerial antics of a Cirque du Soleil performer to form a highlight-friendly arsenal. He looms as the likeliest candidate to lead this draft class in viral moments.

His jumper is often there when he needs it, though not quite what you’d call consistent. He could also take his passing and on-court leadership to another level, but that’s probably true of any 20-year-old guard.

If a perimeter player emerges as the best player in this draft, Ivey is the likeliest candidate. Detroit’s future brightened considerably Thursday.

Grade: A

13. Detroit Pistons (via Hornets): Jalen Duren, C, Memphis

After assembling their backcourt with the pairing of Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham, the Pistons solidified their center spot by landing Duren in a trade with Charlotte, per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.

Duren will make his presence felt around the basket—and above the rim. Even as a rookie, he’ll send NBA veterans to the wrong kind of viral fame as a shot-blocker and finisher on lob passes from both Ivey and Cunningham.

He is a traditional center, though, and those are always tough to value in the modern NBA. He also displays a notable lack of polish, though that’s not surprising (or particularly alarming) considering he might be the youngest player selected (won’t turn 19 until mid-November).

If Detroit’s guards are as dynamic as they look on paper, it makes sense to invest in an athletic rim-runner.

Grade: B+

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer

5. Jaden Ivey, Guard, Purdue

DETROIT PISTONS B+

After trading Jerami Grant to the Blazers, the Pistons continue their overhaul by adding Jaden Ivey to their backcourt alongside last year’s no. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham. Talk about a dream fit. They’ve got to be thrilled about arguably the best guard in the draft falling to no. 5. Ivey might be the most explosive player in this class and should provide some much-needed burst to Detroit’s offense. He can be inconsistent on defense, but that should change in Detroit, where a strong culture has been instilled.

13. Jalen Duren, Big, Memphis

DETROIT PISTONS A-

After locking up their backcourt of the future earlier in the draft, the Pistons are now potentially locking up the center position for the next 10 years with Jalen Duren. He’s one of the youngest players in the draft, but his upside is undeniable. He’s an incredible rim protector and could fill a role right away for the Pistons, possibly backing up Isaiah Stewart. The Pistons are shipping the 2025 first-round pick they got in the Jerami Grant deal to Charlotte in exchange for Duren.

Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation

5. Detroit Pistons – Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue

Grade: A+

The Pistons found their franchise star in Cade Cunningham last year with the No. 1 overall pick. They never expected Jaden Ivey to still be on the board with the No. 5 pick in the draft, but good things happen when you select behind the Kings. Ivey is clearly the best available player on the board, and a great fit with Cunningham. The Purdue guard is the most athletic player in the draft, blessed with extreme speed in the open floor, incredible burst in the half court, and ridiculous leaping ability around the rim. One of Cunningham’s few weaknesses is he’s not an elite run-and-jump athlete. Getting a super fast guard like Ivey next to him is going to cause massive problems for opposing defenses for the next decade. Cunningham can take on the tougher defensive assignment and space the floor around Ivey’s drives. Ivey gets to the basket both in transition and against a set defense in a way that will make Cunningham’s life so much easier. The Pistons have an elite backcourt foundation moving forward.

13. Detroit Pistons – Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (via Hornets, via Knicks)

Grade: A+

The Pistons are officially the biggest winners of draft night. After getting our No. 3 overall player Jaden Ivey with the fourth pick, Detroit found a way to land our No. 5 overall player in Jalen Duren with the No. 13 pick. Duren is the youngest American player in the draft, but he already has grown man’s strength and tremendous athleticism. The Memphis center can slam home lobs and block shots with his 7’5 wingspan, and he also shows quick feet on the perimeter. We love Duren for his coverage versatility in the pick-and-roll, the potential he shows as a short roll playmaker, and his obvious athletic gifts. He plays with so much power around the rim, and is just coming into his own in terms of his offensive skill set. The Pistons just set themselves up for a bright, bright future.

CBS Sports, Gary Parrish & Kyle Boone

5. Detroit Pistons: SG Jaden Ivey, Purdue

Ivey is an explosive athlete who plays big and is capable of attacking the rim in a variety of ways. Comparisons to Ja Morant don’t really add up for Ivey, but he’s an outstanding player nonetheless. There are questions about whether he’s actually going to be a point guard in the NBA, but now he’s paired with Cade Cunningham, a natural distributor. Grade: A+

13. Detroit Pistons (from Hornets via Knicks) : C Jalen Duren, Memphis

Surprising that the Hornets, who need a center, traded this pick to the Knicks and then the Pistons, but what a move for them to join Ivey and their young core. Duren isn’t the type of floor-spacing big franchises prefer these days, but he’s such a physical specimen and great athlete that there’s probably a place for him in the modern NBA anyway. He’d have been a top five pick 20 years ago, and he’s got great upside to be successful in rim-attacking offense and interior defense. Grade: A+

Israel Gutierrez & Tim Bontemps, ESPN

Detroit Pistons: Winner

Gutierrez: Detroit. After moving Jerami Grant before the draft, the Pistons made it clear they would be building around a young core — and maybe Deandre Ayton in free agency. If that’s the case, a guard combination of Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey is a good place to start. Ivey brings some of the flair that the more reserved Cunningham doesn’t. If they can find a way to complement each other, Ivey and Cunningham could be a lethal combination in a few seasons. Jalen Duren was also a necessary pickup for a team that needs toughness up front.

Bontemps: For Detroit to come away with Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren is a pretty nice haul — especially since the Pistons only had to take on Kemba Walker and give up the future Milwaukee first-round pick from the Jerami Grant deal. Ivey has massive upside and could be a terrific fit alongside Cade Cunningham, while Duren adds athleticism and shot-blocking potential inside. Now, the Pistons have money to spend in free agency to continue to supplement their young core, too.

Sam Vecenie & John Hollinger, The Athletic

5. Detroit Pistons, Jaden Ivey, Purdue

Vecenie’s ranking: 4.

Evaluating Ivey’s pro future is all about how much you value athletic traits and how much you think teams can fix some of the issues. There is not a guard in this class with a higher ceiling if it all comes together. His ability to get downhill with power, force and speed is an immediately translatable skill. He can separate from just about any defender. But the difference between him and, say, a player like Ja Morant is what happens after. Whereas Morant is a natural as a passer and playmaker in addition to his vertical pop as a finisher, Ivey doesn’t have that natural feel right now and makes too many negative-value plays because of that. He’s going to get away from his man and collapse the defense, but he has to be able to make the right choice after that happens. If things go right, he could easily turn into a 25-point, six-assist guy. But his floor is something like Eric Bledsoe without the elite defense.

Hollinger’s team fit: The Pistons pounce on the best pure perimeter prospect in the draft despite landing just fifth in the lottery. Ivey has some boom-bust potential, but his blast-off quickness off the dribble should be a nice complement to Cade Cunningham’s more nuanced approach. Between this pick and a surfeit of cap space, Detroit’s rebuild seems ready to move into a more fruitful phase.

Hollinger would have picked … Ivey.

13. Charlotte Hornets (traded to Pistons via Knicks), Jalen Duren, Memphis

Vecenie’s ranking: 12.

Duren is a prototypical rim-running, shot-swatting big man — albeit one with good upside to be a starter because of his size, length, strength and athleticism. He catches the ball well. He is explosive athletically and finishes above the rim. He has good shot-blocking instincts from the opposite side and has the frame to turn into a primary rim protector with some work. The big question with Duren is whether this is too high to pick a player whose game is relatively limited? The swing skill for Duren is his perimeter defense. If he can prove to be reliable enough to stay on the court in space and not get beaten by opposing guards, he can be a top-10 center in the NBA. A lot of outcomes end with Duren being somewhat like peak DeAndre Jordan. The game has changed enough to where I don’t think prime Jordan would top out as an All-NBA player in the 2020s and 2030s, but Duren can still be impactful through his sheer athleticism and strength.

Hollinger’s team fit: At first, it seems odd that Charlotte would trade this pick to the Pistons (via the Knicks) when the Hornets need a center, until you remember that Charlotte also has the 15th pick, Duke shot-blocker Mark Williams is still available, and the Hornets can count on Cleveland not taking a big man at 14 given the current Cavs’ roster. Duren was the highest-upside player left on the board, as Detroit flips the pick from the Jerami Grant trade to land him.

Hollinger would have picked … Duren.

Chris Ryan, The Ringer

Winner: Detroit Pistons

Chris Ryan: One of the joys of the second half of the past NBA season was watching how Cade Cunningham never let any defense speed him up. So what did Detroit do in the 2022 draft? Grab a guy who can’t be slowed down. Cade will win Detroit some playoff games, eventually. But Jaden Ivey will put some asses in seats and kick the Pistons up any League Pass ranking.

Ivey spent the past year weaving around Purdue’s cave troll big men, but his game is tailor-made for modern NBA offense—think Ja Morant 2.0 or, as KOC described him, “jumbo Darius Garland.” If Ivey slipping to five (always a thrill, Sacramento!) was a bit of luck, the acquisition of Memphis rim protector/lob flusher Jalen Duren was a fine piece of drafting skill on the part of Detroit GM Troy Weaver. There was a ton of “Deandre Ayton contract offer coming” talk after the Pistons moved Jerami Grant to Portland earlier in the week, but … they might have drafted the next version of him, all while bouncing the Knicks and Hornets off of one another.

Detroit hasn’t finished better than eighth in the Eastern Conference since 2008. Who knows when they will get back into conference contention, but if they do, I bet tonight will have a lot to do with it.

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