Jaden Ivey is a 6’4” guard who is projected to go in the top 6 of the 2022 NBA Draft. He is the top guard prospect in this class, but he is commonly ranked behind the frontcourt trio of Holmgren, Banchero, and Smith Jr on Big Boards. Ivey would be the first Purdue player drafted in the top 6 since Glenn Robinson in 1994.
Jaden Ivey Scouting Report
Ivey played two seasons at Purdue, but he flourished this past year. He averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.1 APG on a 46/35/74 shooting split. His accomplishments earned him a spot on the All-American 2nd Team. Ivey led Purdue to the Sweet Sixteen as a 3 seed; however, they suffered an abysmal loss to 15th seed Saint Peter’s.
Weight: 195 lbs
Strengths: Ivey is a hyper-athletic guard who explodes off the ground when driving to the basket. He is a terror in transition who uses his speed to knife through the defense. As a ball handler, Ivey can break down the defense with his lightning-quick first step and acrobatically finish around the rim. At the top of the key, Ivey punishes defenders who drop by hitting a step-back three-pointer. His ability to step-back or drive will force NBA defenders into an uncomfortable situation. He doesn’t have the court vision to be an elite playmaker, but Ivey is a good passer who can operate as the second playmaker on the court. The upside as an isolation scorer who can hit from deep is crystal clear.
Defensively, his 6’9” wingspan and athleticism give him ball-stopper potential. When he was locked in, Ivey jumped passing lanes and hounded opponents. Ivey’s length and speed will allow him to guard 1-3. He won’t be polished as a rookie, but Ivey can be a disruptive defender with coaching, time, and effort.
Weaknesses: His perimeter shooting was inconsistent, and his shot selection was questionable at times. The catch and shoot potential is very much there, but he has to work on consistency. Ivey struggled at pulling up from midrange off of the pick; he was far more effective driving to the hoop. He must improve his midrange and floaters in order to diversify his scoring. When he operated as the primary ball handler, Ivey was careless with the ball at times and coughed up turnovers. He became tunnel visioned on drives and missed open shooters that players like LaMelo Ball and Ja Morant would have found. His ceiling as a playmaker is much lower than his ceiling as an isolation scorer.
He was great on defense when he focused, but Ivey didn’t maximize his talent and frequently struggled. He fell asleep too often, and players with constant off-ball movement were able to lose Ivey and get clean looks. He didn’t navigate screens well, which also contributed to this breakdown. The tools are there, but Ivey needs to put more effort and thought into the defensive side of the ball.
Jaden Ivey Stats
Jaden Ivey NBA Draft Ranking, Team Fit, Landing Spot
Draft Ranking: Ivey is 4th on my Big Board because of his potential as an elite two-way guard who can create his own shot. He’s my top guard prospect over Shaedon Sharpe, although it is somewhat close.
Team Fit: Ivey would fit best with the Detroit Pistons at the 5th pick. Cade Cunningham is cemented as the main ball handler and playmaker, but this suits Ivey well. He is more of a combo guard who would thrive next to Cunningham’s passing. In Detroit, Ivey can play to his strengths as a transition weapon and isolation scorer. The Pistons need to find Cade’s backcourt partner, and Ivey is a great option.
Landing Spot: While he could be selected in the top 3, his range is more in the 4-6 area. The problem for Ivey is that many teams at the top don’t need a guard. Orlando (1st), Oklahoma City (2nd), Houston (3rd), Sacramento (4th), and Portland (7th) already have their backcourt set. The most realistic landing spot for him is with Detroit at 5 and perhaps Indiana at 6. The Pacers could pair him with Haliburton, which would be a clean fit. They already have a reliable young shooting guard in Chris Duarte, but Ivey would definitely be an upgrade.
Jaden Ivey NBA Comparison
Ivey is similar to a young Russell Westbrook in terms of raw athletic ability. Both players thrive when they get out in the open court and efficiently attack the basket. Young Westbrook’s on-ball defense was excellent, but he could lose players when off-ball. The same is true of Ivey, who struggles off-ball. A flaw in Ivey’s game is that he can become out of control on drives and commit turnovers. This description sums up Westbrook very well. Ivey is a better outside shooter than Westbrook, but he is a worse passer and playmaker. Overall, I don’t think Ivey’s ceiling is as high as Westbrook’s was. However, their style is similar, and they share some strengths and weaknesses.