Jaden Ivey really, really wants to be drafted by Detroit Pistons

Jaden Ivey will be one of the top players taken in the NBA Draft. However, with his words and actions, it is pretty obvious he hopes to end up with the Detroit Pistons.

Fans of the Pistons have had to suffer through many of their top players trying to pack their bags and get out of town as soon as their agents could arrange it. However, the past year has been different.

Veterans who could be on other clubs, like Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph, are more than happy to remain in the Motor City. All the talk about Grant leaving revolves around his soon to be expiring contract, and his age. It has nothing to do with him wanting to play somewhere else.

Last year’s No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, embraced coming to Detroit immediately:

This year, former Purdue guard Jaden Ivey has pretty much done everything but stand outside Pistons general manager Troy Weaver’s house with cue cards saying: ‘Draft me!’ (It’s from a movie, ask your parents).

And Ivey has put his desire into action. He has worked out privately for just two teams: Orlando (which has the No. 1 pick)…. and Detroit.

Considering Ivey has been projected going anywhere from 2nd to 6th, it would seem to be a bit odd he’s only worked for two of the top six teams. Unless, the objective is, if not going No. 1, to be in Detroit.

Of course, a team can still draft a player even if they didn’t have a workout with them. A player goes where he is drafted, unless he is Kobe Bryant (who refused to go to Charlotte, which drafted him, and forced a trade to the Lakers).

Now, Ivey has not said blatantly he wants to go only to Detroit if he is not No. 1 (although he appears to really not want to go to Sacramento). But, in this interview with The Spun, he makes clear his fondness for the Pistons:

I would love to go anywhere, but Detroit, my mom [Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey] played for the Detroit Shock in the WNBA. I’ve lived in the area and I know what it’s like. Detroit [which picks fifth overall] could be an option.

Now, the question is, should the fact Ivey wants to come to Detroit give him a leg up on other potential draftees?

Should the Detroit Pistons draft Jaden Ivey because he likes them?

Most players are just happy to get drafted, it is the culmination of years of hard work (made harder by having to navigate the pandemic the past couple of years). In most cases, where they go is almost incidental.

Yes, Ivey has signaled he wants to wear that Pistons uniform and play at Little Caesars Arena. But it’s not like other candidates who could go at No. 5 wouldn’t be fine with ending up in Detroit too.

Bennedict Mathurin is from Canada, Detroit’s proximity to his home country would be a positive to him. Keegan Murray’s father is a former Mr. Michigan Basketball from Battle Creek, so he has local ties as well.

But, having been spurned so many times in the past, is the safest route for Weaver to simply pick the guy who wants to be here? Rookie contracts run out in 4-5 years, so isn’t Ivey the smart pick if you want a long-term player?

Now, it is not exactly a reach for Detroit to draft Ivey. For much of the draft season, most experts have ranked Ivey at No. 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 some needed burst.

But if Weaver and the Pistons brass think Mathurin is a better fit, Murray the surest pick to be a contributor, does knowing Ivey wants to come here give him a slight edge over the others?

Whether it becomes a factor, or not, it is good for Pistons fans to know that, if they draft Jaden Ivey, he will be really, really happy to come here.

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