It was personal for Jaden Ivey, in a wholesome way. With the fifth pick of the 2022 NBA draft, the Detroit Pistons selected the Purdue guard and completed a full-circle journey for him and his family.
Ivey's mother, Notre Dame women's head coach Niele Ivey, played for the WNBA's Detroit Shock, his grandfather James Hunter played for the NFL's Detroit Lions and his father Javin Hunter, a former NFL wide receiver, was born in Detroit. Now, Ivey is headed to the same city.
He was visibly emotional after his name was called at Madison Square Garden (video above).
After breaking down in tears during an ESPN interview with his mother by his side, Ivey also got to meet Spike Lee backstage.
Jaden Ivey has a moment with Spike Lee! pic.twitter.com/OLOuWtXp77
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) June 24, 2022
Ivey averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in his sophomore season at Purdue, earning consensus second-team All-American honors. "Explosive" is a common word in his scouting reports, which he combines with a reported 6-foot-9 wingspan to form an effective finisher on offense and a menace on defense.
The 20-year-old figures to create one of the NBA's most exciting young backcourts alongside 2021 No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who finished third in last season's Rookie of the Year voting after coming on strong in the final months.
Nearly every mock draft had Ivey going fourth overall to the Sacramento Kings, but with the odd caveat that a trade was suspected. While Ivey was the consensus No. 4 prospect in the draft and the top backcourt player, he had no contact with the Kings in the pre-draft process, leading the team to select Iowa's Keegan Murray with the pick.