NBA Draft 2022: Ex-scout says Pistons could have ‘the best backcourt’ in 3-5 years, Cavs found right piece
The 2022 NBA Draft came and went Thursday as it was the appetizer to what will be an interesting offseason and a highly intriguing 2022-23 season tipping off later this year.
Former NBA scout Michael Vandegarde, who told Fox News Digital last week he thought Jaden Ivey was the best prospect in the draft, said in a recent interview he was intrigued about where the former Purdue standout eventually 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 appeared he could have gone to the Sacramento Kings, but they decided to take former Iowa standout Keegan Murray with the fourth selection. Vandegarde said he thinks Ivey could fit better in Detroit and the backcourt with him and second-year player Cade Cunningham could turn into one of the best in the NBA.
“I think that in 3-5 years could be the best backcourt in the NBA. That’s exactly what Jaden Ivey needs – a cool, calm guy next to him that could control the game and then him do his thing. Just try to make Jaden Ivey your point guard is probably a little bit of a stretch right away but to have that next to him is absolutely ideal,” Vandegarde told Fox News Digital.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
He said he understood why the Kings passed on Ivey, but wondered how a team that hasn’t had much success in the last 16 years passed up on a talent like Ivey.
KYRIE IRVING DECIDES TO OPT INTO FINAL YEAR OF NETS CONTRACT: REPORT
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 passed on him but I understand. 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 to pass up star talent is really, really, really troublesome 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 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 following his sophomore season with the Boilermakers. He played in 36 games and averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists before deciding to go pro.
NBA DRAFT 2022: MAGIC TAKE PAOLO BANCHERO NO. 1 IN STUNNING MOVE
As far as teams doing enough to make a leap to the postseason, Vandegarde wasn’t so sure this was the draft to do it. He said he liked what the Houston Rockets did, selecting former Auburn star Jabari Smith Jr. to pair with Jalen Green, but added they were still very young.
“But I think there should be a lot of hope for the future. With Jalen Green, Jabari Smith it’s an exciting young group,” he said.
A behind the scenes photo of Jabari Smith Jr. during the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
(Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)
Vandegarde mentioned the Cleveland Cavaliers’ selection of Ochai Agbaji with the No. 14 pick was just what the team needed to possibly make them contenders near the top half of 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’s Most Outstanding Player. He averaged 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 39 games for the Jayhawks.
“That’s exactly the type of player that they need and they’ve grown and they’ve gotten so much better in a year. That could be a piece that really elevates them into… instead of being eight, nine ten, they’re now four five, six,” Vandegarde told Fox News Digital.
NBA DRAFT 2022: JOHNNY DAVIS ‘EXCITED’ TO GET STARTED, WILL MISS BEING TO HIS FAMILY
The Cavaliers were in the four or five spots in the conference for most of the season until late injuries and a losing streak forced them into the play-in tournament where they would lose to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks. But with a young corps around them led by Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okorko, the team could certainly make some noise. Not to mention, Collin Sexton returning from injury to start the year will be a major help.
Kansas’s Ochai Agbaji shoots over 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 other teams got guys who could help them in the long run, but nothing franchise-altering on the surface. He applauded the San Antonio Spurs, Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors for adding some key pieces with their selections.
San Antonio selected Jeremy Sochan from Baylor, the Grizzlies selected Walker Kessler from Auburn and the Warriors picked up Patrick Baldwin Jr., out of UW-Milwaukee.
While he’s not focused on scouting, Vandegarde teamed up with CoachTube. The digital platform provides online sports coaching and training from those who were experts in their respective fields.
Vandegarde recently told Fox News Digital he’s gotten a lot of good feedback from those who use it.
“It’s been wonderful. I think the coaches really like it to get their name out there. Obviously, the world has changed in the last eight to 10 years. You used to have to sell s at Walmart on the shelves, and now everything’s moved to a digital age and the feedback has been wonderful,” he said.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“I think for somebody that lives in a certain part of the world or even a certain part of the United States, you don’t have access to the gym facilities and elite-level training. And CoachTube, I think, really fits that void.”