It looked like Detroit Pistons fans would get their guy Thursday night.
Shortly after the Sacramento Kings picked Iowa forward Keegan Murray with the fourth selection of the 2022 NBA Draft, Little Caesars Arena started buzzing with anticipation.
With all eyes turned to the Jumbotron that was airing the ESPN broadcast high above the court, the screen showed NBA commissioner Adam Silver walking to the podium. But before he could announce the pick, chants drowned out the announcement that Purdue point guard Jaden Ivey was going to be the Pistons’ selection.
Ivey was officially welcomed to the Pistons with a draft night party held at LCA. The event was courtesy of presenting sponsor Cintron, a Detroit-based beverage company. Coppercraft Distillery, Michigan-based premium spirits manufacturer, and Priority Health were supporting sponsors.
It was a festive evening hosted by Pistons in-arena personality Kev Knows. He interviewed franchise great Rip Hamilton, who gave fans insight into what it was like for prospects on draft night. It served as a nice appetizer for fans hoping the Pistons would choose Ivey.
“I'm hoping for Jaden Ivey,” Marshall resident Nicolas Stevens said before the pick. “I would love to get Jaden. As far as the year goes, I just like seeing them develop, hopefully make playoffs, maybe get a series win, or if not, at least one or two playoff wins and just kind of get better than we were this year.”
Ivey has Detroit roots. His grandfather, James Hunter, played for the Detroit Lions and his mother, Niele Ivey, played during one season with the WNBA’s Detroit Shock. She is currently the women’s basketball coach for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. His father, Javin Hunter, was a standout at Birmingham Detroit Country Day.
When he was selected, he wrote on Twitter: “DEEETROIT BASKETBALL! BEYOND EXCITED TO BE A PISTON”
The Pistons later executed a trade for the 13th pick, Memphis center Jalen Duren.
Ivey and Duren join a young core featuring Cade Cunningham, who is coming off an All-Rookie season after he was the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Killian Hayes highlight a group of young players that have been accumulated under general manager Troy Weaver, who was hired in the summer of 2020.
Detroit resident Jacob Nall shared his hope for the new season.
“I'm really excited to just watch our young team grow,” Nall said. “The most important thing for me is getting fans in the seats to support these young stars who really deserve somebody behind them who can really pump up the energy in Little Caesars Arena and make them feel valued.”
Ivey addressed the media shortly after his pick.
“Coming from my background, my family has Detroit ties and when I heard my name called it was an honor,” Ivey said.