2020 NBA Draft: Some observations on other prospects – Killian Hayes

Killian Hayes is another interesting young prospect that is eager to break into the NBA with high pick in this year Draft. The 6'5", 215lbs point guard has undeniably great size for his position. But there are some others things to like about him as well.

On defense, he looks like very good on ball defender. As we can see on the film, he has the whole package: nice stance, active hands, the ability to move his feet quickly and the ability to get skinny on the screens. In addition, he can provide his very good on ball D and rotate to help defend on others positions. He also can be disruptive for the ball-handler in transition D. The thing he needs to work on in his on ball defense is to stay disciplined all the time and avoid making unnecessary gambles like this one.

In off ball defense he likes to engage in help defense, shows not bad awareness, can play the passing lanes and can be really quick on the rotations. But in this department he has a little bit more things to work on. He has a tendency to overhelping and leaving his man alone. He also needs to work on his closeouts and be more decided when picking his cover in transition defense. But these are rather mental mistakes he should be able to eliminate as he’ll mature as a basketball player.

On offense he looks not bad, either. He has advanced P&R game. He can pass in various ways coming off this type of play. If there isn’t any teammate open, he can finish it himself with mid- or long-range jumpers and drives. One thing that is a little concerning here, is the rarity of dynamic drives to the basket. He can make dribble drives, even without a screen, but even there we can see that he doesn’t look like "he has rockets in his back pockets". This is a bit worrisome because it raises some questions about his athleticism. However, it isn’t something that automatically will prevent him to be impactful player. For now it only means that his impactfulness, developed to its fullest, can rather be D’Angelo Russell-type instead of Malcolm Brogdon-type. It’s still very nice ceiling, though. (And maybe the floor is a little better in him, since with plays like this, at the age of 18, he shows a BBIQ that you sometimes still can’t find in Russell). On the other hand this ceiling needs to be based on solid three point shooting to not collapse. And it isn’t all smooth here, we’ll come back to this soon.

The passing thing, we mentioned in connection with Hayes P&R game, is overall something where Hayes is at his best on offense. He always seeks an open teammate, he’s eager to make the extra pass and make nice and productive passes in transition. But most of all, when he’s playmaking in half court he can hit his men practically everywhere and in practically every possible way. However, also here we find something he needs to work on. His 1,68 Ast/To ratio is well below acceptance even for an average NBA point guard, and we’re looking for stars…

The variety also characterize his three-ball, as he can make pull up and catch and shoot triples in addition to his favorites step back ones. So he has the repertoire, the Russell-type PG should has at his disposal behind the arc. But we find another problem here too. This season he was making only 29,4% of his threes. So he needs to show in workouts that he can be much better in this regard if he’s supposed to be next Russell-type in the future.

Finally, Hayes has also a midrange game that can be useful, can make something happen off ball and hustles for 50/50 balls.

In general, the Florida-native Frenchman has some skills that would be very useful for our Pistons: he’s a big PG who can defend very well and with his dribbling skills and P&R game can penetrate the interior heavily. However to be successful on offense, he needs to become at least a better three point shooter and learn to take better care of the ball. Thus, if he doesn’t provide clearly positive answers to these questions during workouts, we can ask ourselves: is it worth to use high FRP to draft another player who can be good for the role IF he becomes better at some things, when we already nursing there Luke, Bruce, Khyri and Svi (and have Jordan and Louis in reserve) who have a set of skills/question marks that amounts to a potential that is not as much lower as high would be the risk of Hayes becoming next Frank Ntilikina?

Nevertheless, at the moment, I still have drafting him on par with Edwards as plan B… well maybe a B-. After all, our coaching staff proved to be able to make wonders with players with seemingly lower expectations.

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