Kia Rookie Ladder: Jaden Ivey gets a crash course in the NBA


Jaden Ivey averages 16.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Pistons.


The month is not a season, and the season is not a profession. However, no matter how small this sample is, there’s a lot more to go into evaluating the newest NBA players than they were five weeks ago.

And while we’ve been learning about them and their fit for their teams, the class of 2022 has been learning about the league, the intensity of the competition, the demands of the NBA schedule and the hard lessons of decidedly veteran opponents, young and working. Serious injuries, shaky shooting nights and a burning urge to win.

For gamers near the top of the Kia Rookie Ladder, early education has involved major disruption Ankle sprain (Paolo Panchero in Orlando), a reminder that the start is less important than the finish (Benedict Mathurin in Indiana) and the frequent disconnect between good stats and a winning basketball (Kegan Murray in Sacramento).

For Detroit native Jaden Ivey, there was a little bit of everything. Already, the fifth general selection in draft last June He has lost nearly as many times in a month as he has in his two college seasons at Purdue combined (47-18 vs. Pistons 4-15). He tried to complement last year’s rookie star, Kid Cunningham, until Cunningham was knocked out with seven games left. With soreness in the left leg. This propelled Ivy into a different, larger role, and yet another modification. Then there was the usual upstart stuff, like playing twice in two nights instead of twice a week. And all that free time without lessons.

Jaden Ivey scored 26 points in a loss against the Celtics on November 12.

Early in Detroit’s current six-game trip, Ivey spoke briefly with’s Mark Medina, who shared some notes and quotes with the ladder committee. Ranked #2 for the second week in a row, the 6-foot-4 fast guard said his experience in the NBA up to this point was “everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

How is that?

He said, “To be able to play against some of the greatest players every night, to be able to wear an NBA uniform and compete in all of these historic arenas. I enjoy every second.”

Obviously, “every second” is about the situation, because it involves consecutive hits and the Pistons losing in seven straight games. Of the former, Ivey said, “You have to get up the next day and shut down the next game. It takes a lot of mental monitoring to do that.” And the last, “Scoring the ball is great. But winning is what counts. I put that on me. I’m a rookie, but I have to keep learning as much as I can to put us in a great position to win.”


Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Nell Ivey smiles as she watches the Pistons game in October.

Early bonus: Playing for Detroit has brought Ivey close to family. His father, Gavin Hunter, was a native of that city before he played wide receiver for Notre Dame and in the NFL. Jaden Ivey’s grandfather, James Hunter, was a defensive back for the Detroit Lions From 1976 to 1982. His mother, Niele Ivey, played in the WNBA for the Indiana Fever and Detroit Shock before becoming a WNBA Fitness Trainer Notre Dame women’s basketball team.

“I am able to visit my grandparents and my father,” Ivey told “I also have connections from my mom’s side of the family. She has her mom’s cousins ​​and some of her family there. It’s such an honor to be able to play for a great organization and play in Detroit where I spent some summers. I love the city being here and I wear the Pistons jersey every single day. I want to optimal for the city.

So far, with his pace, speed, and raw potential, Ivey is doing just fine. Joining him on this week’s ladder are two new faces vying for those lower rungs.

This week’s top five in the 2022-23 Kia rookie ladder:

(All stats as of Tuesday, November 22)

1. Benedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers

Season stats: 19.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.9 apg
Since last ladder: 17.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
The last ladder: 1
Draft selection: No. 6 in general

Mathurin had to face what would have been a head-to-head two-on-one matchup with ROY contender Paolo Panchero, who missed games in Indianapolis on Saturday and Monday. The freshman Pacers had 22 points in game two and averaged 17 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 40% — but his team won both. Oddly enough, Mathurin’s stats during Indiana’s five-game winning streak (16.8 ppg, 40% FG, 37.5% 3FG) aren’t as flashy as the team’s 5-6 starter (20.4, 46%, 43.7%) but he continues to lead all NBA reserves in scoring .

Benedict Mathurin finished with 22 points in a win against Orlando.

2. Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons

Season stats: 16.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.2 apg
Since last ladder: 16.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.5 apg
The last ladder: 2
Draft selection: No. 5 in general

The Pistons cut their slippery slope in seven games by defeating Denver on Tuesday, without Kid Cunningham, Sadiq Bay or Isaiah Stewart. This propelled Ivey into his biggest role yet, and he put up seven points, six rebounds, five assists and four turnovers on 3-of-11 shooting with minus 10 in 26 minutes in the two-point victory. his constant threat to explode on the edge It opens up passing lanes for him even when he’s not boosting his outside shooting (with the exception of a 4-for-4 from the Sacramento arc, he’s shot 4-for-31 from deep since November 14). Backcourt mate Cunningham (left tibialis) is out indefinitely, compromising the development of synergy between the two but increasing Ivey’s frequency.

3. Paolo Panchero, Orlando Magic

Season stats: 23.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.6 apg
Since last ladder: DNP
The last ladder: 3
Draft selection: No. 1 overall

The Ladder Committee is looking forward to having Panchiro back on the scene when his left ankle sprain – which has cost him seven straight games – is adequately healed, possibly by Friday against the Sixers. No one else in the 2022 class comes close to Banchero, on a per-game basis, in points, rebounds, minutes, FGA or points in the paint (11.8). But because of this layoff (he’s lost 40% of the Orlando game now), Ivey has played 50% more minutes, Mathurin has racked up 19% more points and 23 more fellow rookies have tasted wins than first pick (only twice).


Paulo Panchero (C) has missed Mike’s last 7 games due to injury.

4. Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets

Season stats: 10.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.8 apg
Since last ladder: 14.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 0.7 apg
The last ladder: 5
Draft selection: No. 3 in general

Sure enough, his high scoring to date of “only” 22 points came against the Golden State Warriors Sunday. But Smith went 5-for-5 inside the arc, hitting three of his nine three-pointers and grabbing seven rebounds against a mostly intact version of the defending champions. The 19-year-old has made more 3-pointers (96) than any rookie, and his 29 equals an accuracy of 30.2%.

5. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings

Season stats: 11.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg
Since last ladder: 7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.5 apg
The last ladder: 4
Draft selection: No. 4 in general

Murray returned from back pain to play two games this week. He scored 13 points against Detroit, then had his worst performance in Memphis on Tuesday. The Kings winger scored two points on 1-of-8 shooting and missed four three-pointers. He’s missed 11 of his 12 hat-tricks over his past three games. The good news? Sacramento hasn’t been bothered by its victories either way.

Next 5

6. Tari Eason, Houston Rockets

Season stats: 8.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.0 apg
Since last ladder: 10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.3 apg
The last ladder: 6
Draft selection: No. 17 overall

He leads the NBA — and not just the rookies — in steal percentage (3.8%).

7. Shedon Sharp, Portland Trail Blazers

Season stats: 9.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.5 apg
Since last ladder: 8.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
The last ladder: 7
Draft selection: No. 7 overall

His 42.9% 3FG tops the list for rookies who have played at least 10 games.

8. Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder

Season stats: 9.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.8 apg
Since last ladder: 13.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.3 apg
The last ladder: 9
Draft selection: No. 12 overall

He finished with 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists as a starter for Memphis.

9. Jalen Doreen, Detroit Pistons

Season stats: 7.1 ppg, 7.4 rpm, 0.4 apg
Since last ladder: 9.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 0.8 apg
The last ladder: 10
Draft selection: No. 13 overall

Oh, to clean up holiday mess the way Doreen is Clean at the edge.

T-10. A. Griffin, Atlanta Hawks

Season stats: 8.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.7 apg
Since last ladder: 13.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.0 apg
The last ladder: Unavailable
Draft selection: No. 16 overall

Hummingbird beater vs. birds of prey He beat his father Adrian’s (assistant coach) team.

T-10. Andrew Nimbard, Indiana Pacers

Season stats: 6.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.1 apg
Since last ladder: 7.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
The last ladder: Unavailable
Draft selection: No. 31 overall

Call it 57% / 43% / 100% for the week, and there was no spin at 20.3 mpg.

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Steve Ashburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can email him here, search Archive it here And the Follow him on Twitter.

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