Why Jaden Ivey’s losing streak isn’t a big deal for the Detroit Pistons
Jaden Ivey has suffered a slump after a fast start for the Detroit Pistons rookie. Is it something to be concerned about? Look at how another highly selected rookie, Bennedict Mathurin, is doing, could be an indicator.
While the Pistons drafted the 6-foot-5 guard Jaden Ivey with the No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft, he was universally recognized as the fourth ranked player. The Sacramento Kings took Iowa forward Keegan Murray with the fourth pick because, well, the kangz kind of go to a different drummer – and Ivey made it clear that he was not thrilled with the prospect to be there
Ivey looked great in the brief time he played in summer league and also excelled at the start of the season. Coach Dwane Casey installed him as Cade Cunningham’s outfield partner. Things were going well, as the pairing seemed to flourish, Cunningham with his deliberation and good passes, Ivey with his electric ability to drive to the rim.
But since Nov. 9, since Cunningham left the lineup, Ivey has struggled.
Not counting the Hornets game, Ivey, over the previous eight games, was shooting 34 percent from the field and 24 percent on 3-point attempts. according to Mlive.
Is that good? No.
Are Ivey’s shooting issues something to worry about? Well, it’s interesting that another high draft pick is also struggling with his shot at the same time.
Bennedict Mathurin in the same boat as Jaden Ivey
Another rookie that was talked about in the media as down was the Indiana Pacers. Benedict Mathurin.
He was selected by Indiana at No. 6, immediately after the Pistons selected Ivey. Like the Purdue product, Mathurin got off to a fast start to the season and immediately entered the Rookie of the Year discussion.
And just like Ivey, Mathurin, out of the blue, developed a problem shooting the basketball.
Between November 25 and December 12, Mathurin shot 10 of 52 on 3-pointers for a 19.2 percent shooting percentage.
Is that good? No.
Is it a coincidence that the No. 5 and 6 draft picks suffered a losing streak at the same time? No
‘The Wall’ for newbies is getting hit
Almost every rookie, at some point, hits ‘The Wall’ during the NBA season.
The reasoning is quite simple. Gamers are playing in many more games than they were in high school or college. There is no ‘winter break’ where school is dropped. School is over, now you are a professional. But the Corps isn’t used to so much, well, the use of the Corps.
For example, last year Ivey played 36 games for the Boilermakers. With the Pistons, he’s already appeared in 27 games (and missed a few due to injury he normally would have been). So, a week before Christmas, Ivey’s NBA schedule has him playing nearly as many games as he has in the entire 2021-22 college season.
Now, you don’t have to attend classes or mandatory study halls, so you have more time to maintain your conditioning, but it’s still a shock to the system.
Most colleges only play twice a week, whereas an NBA team might have 5-6 games. Totally different animal.
So it’s not surprising that after a few months of the NBA grind, Ivey’s and Mathurin’s legs feel a bit heavy, affecting their shooting and thus their respective shot drops.
The wall can be broken
The good news is that when you’re in your 20s, you can bounce back quickly. Looks like Mathurin has done it, so Ivey should join him shortly.
Ivey scored 13 points, had four assists and three rebounds in the Pistons’ win over Charlotte. Importantly, he shot a solid 5 of 9 from the field and looked comfortable on offense.
It was good? Yes.
Ivey then slumped again, making just 2 of 9 shots for five points in a loss to Sacramento.
Mathurin snapped out of his slump in dramatic fashion, chipping in 24 points, going 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, to help the Pacers beat the Golden State Warriors. He followed that performance by scoring 22 points against Cleveland, though he was only 2-for-6 from 3-point ground.
Does it look like Ivey and Mathurin can get back on track? Yes.
The rookie wall can be broken, but each player has his own schedule.
Note: Rookie Keegan Murray, the No. 4 pick, looked great against Detroit, but had put down a bad three days earlier, scoring just three points in a loss to the 76ers. Proving that every rookie has ups and downs.
With Cade Cunningham out for the year, the Pistons will need Ivey’s offensive prowess. Even with his recent struggles, Ivey is still second only to Bojan Bogdanovic in scoring (not counting Cunningham), so when Ivey’s shooting woes finally subside, it’ll be very good news for Detroit.