“Ivey’s inconsistent run under Williams, who signed a five-year, $78.5 million contract this offseason that marked the richest deal in NBA history upon agreement, has sparked some tension among Detroit decision-makers this season, league sources told Yahoo Sports, as well as drawn the ire of Pistons faithful online,” Fischer wrote.
Ivey, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, has seen his minutes decrease from his rookie season. This season, the youngster is playing just 22.7 minutes per game after averaging 31.1 minutes per game in the 2022-23 campaign.
Not only that, but the former lottery pick has started just five of the 15 games that he’s appeared in for the Pistons.
Williams has opted to start another former lottery pick — Killian Hayes — in 14 of the 18 games that he’s played in this season. Hayes dropped 23 points in a start against the New York Knicks on Thursday night.
While Hayes and Ivey are both young players, the team used a recent top-five draft pick on Ivey, and he turned in a solid rookie season.
In the 2022-23 campaign, the Purdue University product averaged 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from 3-point range.
With Cade Cunningham missing most of the 2022-23 season due to an injury, Ivey was called upon for a bigger role as a rookie.
The Pistons have struggled mightily this season, going just 2-17 in their first 19 games. The team is currently on a 16-game losing streak after losing to New York on Thursday.
While Williams certainly has some job security after signing such a large deal in the offseason with the Pistons, it is concerning that the team is performing badly and not playing a young talent like Ivey that much.
Detroit is still in a rebuilding phase — as shown by the team’s slow start this season — so it would make sense to develop a player like Ivey for the long term.
Prior to Thursday’s game against New York, Ivey had started five straight games for Detroit. In those starts, he averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field. Ivey also played 28.3 minutes per game across those outings.
It’ll be interesting to see how the former No. 5 overall pick’s minutes fluctuate under Williams as the season goes on.