Purdue’s Jaden Ivey is among the sharpest prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft. He’s electric off the dribble, can serve as a primary ball-handler and has a respectable outside jump shot.
The former Boilermaker is more of a combo guard than a true one or two guard. At the same time, Ivey’s versatility and offensive skill set allow him to play either position at the next level.
Here are three ideal landing spots for Ivey relative to where teams are selecting.
3. Jaden Ivey to the Washington Wizards
The Wizards are at a fork in the road. Bradley Beal is a pending free agent, they traded Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans for Kristaps Porzingis at the NBA trade deadline and need a point guard — again. Regardless of what the future holds for the Wizards, moving up for Ivey is a compelling option.
If Beal stays in Washington, he and Ivey form a dynamic backcourt. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. would have a pair of capable ball-handlers who can each stretch the floor and score off the dribble. That combination takes some attention off Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma.
- Jaden Ivey stats (2021-22): 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 46.0/35.8/74.4
In the scenario that Beal bolts Washington, Ivey becomes a central figure in the Wizards’ retooling project alongside Porzingis, Kuzma and Rui Hachimura. To attain Ivey, Washington, who selects 10th, would likely have to surrender a rotation-caliber player on a rookie deal (e.g. Deni Avdija or Corey Kispert) and/or future picks.
All that said, the Wizards may prefer to let a pivotal offseason come to them rather than forcing the issue in the draft.
Related: 2022 NBA mock draft
2. Jaden Ivey to the Indiana Pacers
The new-look Pacers have a lot of enticing young players and could have even more if they trade one or a combination of Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. As it concerns the draft, Ivey would be a home run selection for Indiana.
Point guard Tyrese Haliburton is a superb complement to Ivey. Haliburton’s well-rounded game, which includes an efficient jump shot, the ability to score off the dribble, defend and facilitate, allows Ivey to play to his strengths. That being, attacking the rack. Meanwhile, wing Chris Duarte got invaluable minutes in his rookie season and flashed a promising perimeter game.
- Jaden Ivey NBA comparison: Donovan Mitchell
Ivey should hit the ground running with the Pacers. Haliburton, Ivey and Duarte would make for a versatile and prosperous attack on both ends of the floor. The Pacers’ offensive focal points are in place, and they have the assets to supplement their core. Indiana also has big men with upside like Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson.
Finding a flaw in Ivey’s presumptive fit with Indiana is nitpicking. There just so happens to be a team that needs Ivey a bit more.
Related: Jaden Ivey highlights
1. Jaden Ivey to the Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are struggling to gain traction in their rebuild. To boot, they fell from No. 3 to No. 5 in the NBA Draft Lottery. Absolutely brutal. The good news for the Motor City is they could still get Ivey, who would be an outstanding fit in head coach Dwane Casey’s rotation.
The Pistons need go-to scorers. Cade Cunningham had a respectable rookie season and has the length and versatility to become an offensive pillar. Ivey has that same potential and would be an ideal fit next to Cunningham.
Cunningham would be the primary ball-handler with Ivey operating off the ball. The former had a tendency to settle for jump shots in his rookie season. While Cunningham should be more assertive in year two, one figures he continues to hoist up three-pointers and attempt shots from said range in transition. Ivey will roam the halfcourt, getting open for mid-range looks and attacking the rack.
Related: 2022 NBA Draft order
Cunningham draws the defense to the three-point line while Ivey forces the issue at the rim. All the while, the two players can flip roles as the game unfolds. This is a backcourt for the Pistons to build through. They also have emerging forward Saddiq Bey, improving big man Isaiah Stewart and potentially another young piece if Jerami Grant is moved.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.