The Detroit Pistons got two of the players near the top of their NBA Draft board Thursday in electric guard Jaden Ivey and athletic big man Jalen Duren. While introducing the two young men and talking about their excitement for the upcoming season, they also took time to look back and celebrate the deep roots each player had in connection to the area and the Pistons organization.
Executive Vice President Arn Tellem spoke fondly of Duren’s Philadelphia roots and noted others within Pistons history with Philly ties including former coach Chuck Daly and former players Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace.
Ivey’s connection to the Pistons, however, was on a whole other level.
“The history and the story behind Jaden is unbelievable. It’s like a fairy tale,” said Ivey’s new head coach Dwane Casey.
To celebrate that family history and add a little fairy dust to that magical story, Tellem presented Ivey not just with his new Pistons jersey, but with three jerseys special to Ivey.
He received the Detroit Lions jersey of his grandfather James Hunter, the Detroit Country Day jersey of his father Javin Hunter and the Detroit Shock Jersey of his mother Niele.
James Hunter played for the lions from 1976-82, Javin Hunter starred at Detroit Country Day and won state championships in 1995, 96 and 97, and Niele Hunte played for the Detroit Shock in 2005.
The surprise caught Ivey off guard and a few more tears were shed one night after he broke down while embracing his mother when his name was called during the draft.
What a beautiful moment.— BULLYBALL (@RealBullyBall) June 24, 2022
The Pistons present Jaden Ivey with his grandfather’s Lions jersey, his father’s Country Day jersey, and his mother’s Detroit Shock jersey. pic.twitter.com/QFkVqqeHQa
Lastly, both players were presented with their actual Pistons jerseys, with Ivey set to wear No. 23 and Duren wearing No. 0.
Regarding actual Pistons matters, both Troy Weaver and Dwane Casey were effusive in their praise of both players and the hard work of the organization who worked to put the team in place to draft them.
“These moments will be inflection points of the restoration,” Weaver said of his two latest lottery picks.
Casey talked about what both players bring to the table with their dynamic athleticism and defensive potential, and also talked about his excitement at the possibility of throwing out a three-guard lineup with Ivey, Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes.
“Jaden gives us speed and quickness, Killian gives us size and defense, and Cade gives us a little bit of everything. He adds skill that Cade and Killian weren’t born with. This young man right here is one of the quickest in the league,” Casey said.
And while everyone in the organization is excited to add two enormous talents, Casey stressed it is important not to put unreasonable expectations on two young players.
“I don’t mind mistakes because all young players make mistakes,” Casey said. “But do it hard. Make hard mistakes.”