September 29, 2022

LA VEGASJalen Duren the party started, and Jaden Ivey sealed the deal as the Detroit Pistons defeated the Portland Trailblazers, 81-78, in NBA 2K23 Summer League Midnight Madness 2022 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The opening possession for the Pistons showed flashes of spectacle, as No. 5 pick Ivey threw an alley-oop to No. 13 pick Duren for the first assist and snap of their young career.

Duren started the game swinging at the rim as he went 3-3 with three dunks for six quick and strong points to give those who stayed up after hours a taste of the future.

Jalen Duren of the Detroit Pistons dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half of an NBA Summer League basketball game Thursday, July 7, 2022 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The 6′11 center (wingspan 7′5) had already drawn comparisons with the head coach Dwane Casey to Seattle Supersonics high-flyer Shawn Kemp.

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After his quick rebound in the first quarter, if you ask the rim, it will tell you that there is no difference between the two, especially in terms of power.

“So his athleticism, his explosion, he can go from zero to 100 just like that,” Casey said. “Just the nuances of the game and the understanding of the game but his explosion over Shawn, I started recruiting Shawn since he was in ninth grade. He (Kemp) was a bit of a better shooter at the same stage, but both have the same blast, and Duren is a great boy. This morning was the first time he got to practice because the trade was only done last night. He was working alone in going back and forth because he couldn’t train. So just for him to get out and play is a testament, but like any young player there’s a lot to learn about this game.”

MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 10: Shawn Kemp #40 of the Seattle Supersonics competes in the slam dunk contest during NBA All Star Weekend on February 10, 1990 at Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) (1990 Focus on Sports)

Duren took a break from the action during Casey’s synopsis, but once he was reinserted into play, he forced a quick turnaround and assisted with an out pass to Braxton Key for the easy bucket.

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He then followed that up with a demonstrative block, sending the ball into the stands, which prompted another reaction from across the arena.

Duren came back to the defensive side of the floor and eclipsed his first block by catching the Trailblazers offensive players from the backboard before heading into halftime.

Duren finished the game with nine points, two blocks, an assist and a rebound, but he left his mark early.

Jaden Ivey bounces back from slow start

Ivey led the team with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists while playing 32 minutes in the win. But his slow start was noticeable, as he finished with five turnovers in his NBA debut.

Jaden Ivey of the Detroit Pistons dives for the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half of an NBA Summer League basketball game Thursday, July 7, 2022 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Casey spoke on Ivey’s departure.

“Well, Jaden is doing a good job of getting where he wants with his speed,” Casey said. “Like all youngsters, he has to keep learning what to do with it, how to slow down, how to change gears and keep working on his three-point shot. Defensively he still has to get on the ball, but all those things are small things. that can be taught. One thing that we can’t teach is how fast and fast he plays, and that’s a weapon.

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Ivey’s start was nervous as he missed a few three-point shots, but Casey said Father Time was the only way to set his pace on the court as he moved extremely fast on his debut.

“Father Time,” Casey said. “Time is on his side. The more reps he gets, the more game situations he has – the game will slow down as it has for all young players. The older they get, the slower the game becomes.

Ivey had 8 points and two assists but three fouls before halftime, including one on a questionable call after hitting a quick three.

Ivey’s mother opened up about her son’s journey and how proud he is to achieve his dreams.

“I’m just thrilled to be here,” said Niele Ivey. “I wanted to make sure I was in his first game. Such a proud moment for me to see him on this pitch. It’s something he dreamed of, something he worked so hard for, and it’s a blessing to be here.

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She spoke about being around the game since he was a kid while coaching at Notre Dame and how it has helped him along his journey so far.

“He went through the whole process for me as an assistant coach,” Niele Ivey said. “He was inspired by our strong women at Notre Dame. His first role model was Skylar Diggins. Jackie Young came to support him tonight. So he learned the women’s game, and I’m so excited for him.

Ivey made key plays in the stretch to help the Pistons seal the deal in a nail-biter, but the young guys showed why they can be great in this league.

The Pistons will be looking to keep winning, as they take on the Washington Wizards on Saturday (July 9) at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

What would you like to see in Game 2 from the youngsters? Do you think the Pistons can win the Summer League Championship?

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