Wizards

How would Jaden Ivey fit with Beal in backcourt?

Wizards

The Washington Wizards have the 10th-best lottery odds for the 2022 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2022 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Profile: Jaden Ivey

School: Purdue

Position: Combo Guard

Age: 20

Height: 6-4

Weight: 195

Wingspan: 6-9

2021/22 stats: 36 G, 17.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg, 46.0 FG% (5.6/12.3), 35.8 3PT% (1.8/5.0), 74.4 FT% (4.3/5.8)

Player comparison: Donovan Mitchell, Victor Oladipo 

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 4th, Sports Illustrated 4th, Ringer 5th, Athletic 5th, ESPN 4th, NBADraft.net 1st, Bleacher Report 4th

5 things to know:

-Ivey brings an explosive array of skills to the NBA. When watching his film, Ivey jumps out of the screen with his speed and athleticism that he brings on both ends of the court. While his shooting numbers dipped a tad as his sophomore season went on, he still shot a respectable 35.8% and has deadly range to pull up from pretty much anywhere on the court. Teams will have fits slowing him down offensively.

-Length and his disruptive nature will allow him to move to the wing on the defensive side of the ball. It's hard to say if Purdue's system helped mask any lapses in horizontal movement or simply took advantage of their rim-protection. Overall Ivey is an adequate defender but sometimes has dips in intensity and lazy tendencies which might prevent him from being a top-three pick.

 

-Ivey's freshman season was shortened by a foot injury and that ultimately didn't allow Ivey to fully display his potential. The extra COVID-year and backloaded rosters also further held back some future NBA prospects with many holding over from 2020. He'll be the first of several stars in this year's draft who played two years in school.

-Ivey will bring international experience with him to the NBA. He was a member of the 2021 United States U-19 team that competed at the World Cup. Alongside him was Chet Holmgren, Kennedy Chandler and Harrison Ingram.

-Professional sports is nothing new to the Ivey family. His mom Niele Ivey played in the WNBA and replaced the legendary Muffet McGraw as the women's head coach at Notre Dame. His father, Javin Hunter, spent five seasons in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, and his grandfather played with the Detroit Lions

Fit with Wizards:

Drafting Ivey will certainly require some luck for Washington to move up to select the talented guard. He's a consensus top-five pick with the potential to climb even higher at the upcoming NBA Combine. In total, Washington has a 13.9% chance of jumping into the top four. 

Hypothetically, though, if the ping-pong balls did drop in their favor, Ivey would be an elite talent at a position already filled by Bradley Beal. Many assume that Ivey would be a great option at point guard, which is roughly how Purdue used him last season. But there should be some questions about how an Ivey-Beal backcourt would work and he isn't a perfect fit for what the Wizards need.

Ivey wasn't a true floor general with the Boilermakers. It was a roster made with a handful of playmakers that took turns running the offense and occasionally going inside-out. A concern is Ivey's passing ability where he gets too eager at times to force the issue. Purdue's system worked for Ivey to set up a high pick-and-roll and make a decision on the defensive coverage or set up a straight-up isolation with the threat of his burst.

That's not necessarily what the Wizards will need from him with the current roster. If somehow the Wizards jump into the top four and he's their pick, Tommy Sheppard and Wes Unseld Jr. just need to figure out how to make it work because Ivey's talent is too good to pass up.