NBA Draft 2022: Ex-scout says Pistons could have ‘best backcourt’ in 3-5 years, Cavs have found the right piece


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The 2022 NBA Draft came and went on Thursday as it was the appetizer to what will be an interesting offseason and a very intriguing 2022-23 season that kicks off later this year.

Former NBA scout Michael Vandegarde, who told Fox News Digital last week that he thinks Jaden Ivey is the best draft prospect, said in a recent interview that he was intrigued by where the former Purdue standout has finally landed.

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons passes the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter at Little Caesars Arena on April 08, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan.
(Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Detroit Pistons selected Ivey with the No. 5 pick. It looked like he could have gone to the Sacramento Kings, but they decided to take former Iowa star Keegan Murray with the fourth selection. Vandegarde said he thinks Ivey could fit in better in Detroit and the backcourt with him and sophomore Cade Cunningham could become one of the best in the NBA.

“I think in 3-5 years this could be the best backcourt in the NBA. That’s exactly what Jaden Ivey needs – a cool, calm guy next to him who could control the game and then make him his thing. Just try to make Jaden Ivey, your point guard, probably a little over the top right away, but having him next to him is absolutely ideal,” Vandegarde told Fox News Digital.

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He said he understood why the Kings let Ivey down, but wondered how a team that hasn’t had much success in the past 16 years let a talent like Ivey go.

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Detroit Pistons draft pick Jaden Ivey looks on during the Detroit Pistons draft press conference at Rouge Park on June 24, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan.

Detroit Pistons draft pick Jaden Ivey looks on during the Detroit Pistons draft press conference at Rouge Park on June 24, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan.
(Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)

“If it was the Kings I probably wouldn’t have let him down but I get it. They have De’Aaron Fox. They have Davion Mitchell, who they love. They were willing to trade (Tyrese) Haliburton to get Davion more minutes. I understand them drafting (Keegan) Murray,” Vandegarde said.

“It makes sense, but letting star talent pass is really, really, really embarrassing when you’re at the top of the draft. You’re bad for a reason. You need the best player. I think Jaden Ivey is the best player But I understand why they did it and I think Jaden Ivey probably ended up in a better situation with Detroit than he did with the Kings.”

Vandegarde, who was a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers for 18 years, compared Ivey to Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant – even more athletic.

Ivey was a consensus second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten Conference in 2022 after his second season with the Boilermakers. He played in 36 games and averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists before deciding to turn pro.

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As for teams doing enough to jump to the playoffs, Vandegarde wasn’t so sure it was the draft to do it. He said he liked what the Houston Rockets did, selecting former Auburn star Jabari Smith Jr. to partner with Jalen Green, but added that they were still very young.

“But I think there should be a lot of hope for the future. Along with Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, it’s an exciting young band,” he said.

A backstage photo of Jabari Smith Jr. during the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23, 2022 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

A backstage photo of Jabari Smith Jr. during the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23, 2022 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
(Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Vandegarde mentioned that the Cleveland Cavaliers selection of Ochai Agbaji with the No. 14 pick was exactly what the team needed to eventually make them near-top-half contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Agbaji led Kansas to a national championship last season. He was a Consensus All-American, 2022 Big 12 Player of the Year and the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. He averaged 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 39 games with the Jayhawks.

“He’s exactly the type of player they need and they’ve grown and improved so much in a year. This could be a play that really lifts them up…instead of being eight, nine ten, they’re now four five, six,” Vandegarde told Fox News Digital.

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The Cavaliers were in the four or five conference spots for most of the season until late injuries and a losing streak forced them into the play-off tournament where they would lose to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta. Hawks. But with a young body around them led by Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okorko, the team could certainly make some noise. Not to mention that Collin Sexton, back from injury to start the year, will be a big help.

Kansas' Ochai Agbaji shoots Stony Brook's Elijah Olaniyi and Frankie Policelli, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 in Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji shoots Stony Brook’s Elijah Olaniyi and Frankie Policelli, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 in Lawrence, Kan.
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

He mentioned that other teams had guys who could help them in the long run, but nothing changed the franchise on the surface. He applauded the San Antonio Spurs, Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors for adding a few key elements to their picks.

San Antonio selected Jeremy Sochan from Baylor, the Grizzlies selected Walker Kessler from Auburn and the Warriors picked up Patrick Baldwin Jr. from UW-Milwaukee.

Although not focused on scouting, Vandegarde has teamed up with CoachTube. The digital platform offers online sports coaching and training from experts in their respective fields.

Vandegarde recently told Fox News Digital that he’s received a lot of good feedback from those who use him.

“It was wonderful. I think coaches really like to get their name out there. Obviously the world has changed in the last eight to ten years. It used to be that you had to sell videos at Walmart on the shelves, and now everything has changed. moved into the digital age and the feedback has been great,” he said.

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“I think for someone who lives in a certain part of the world or even a certain part of the United States, you don’t have access to gym facilities and elite-level training. And CoachTube, I think, really fits that void.”


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