Killian Hayes was drafted with the seventh overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in 2020. There were high expectations for the lead guard, but unfortunately, his career has been nothing but tumultuous. This has culminated in the Pistons cutting Hayes Thursday. What has led to the lottery pick struggling so much, and is there hope in him getting a second chance in the league?
NBA News: Killian Hayes Cut by the Pistons
The main reason for Hayes being cut is simple: the guard can’t score efficiently. 6.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists on 47.4% true shooting won’t lead to a long career in the association. While Hayes is a competent passer, it’s overshadowed by his lack of ability to put any pressure on the defense.
If you look at Hayes’ shot chart, you will see exclusively light and dark shades of blue, indicating below-average percentages from everywhere. This is at its worst when you look at his shot percentages in the paint. A 47.5% percent conversion rate compared to a 59.5% league average without being able to make up for it with elite shooting means that Hayes is an offensive liability. His ability to create looks for others as a playmaker is useless if the defense can sag off and let him shoot or dare him to drive to the rim.
Hayes must change some things about his game to stay relevant in the NBA. The question is how he could do it.
Wipe the Slate Clean
Hayes has to improve his ability to score efficiently. This could start by improving his jump shot off the catch and shoot and attacking closeouts. While he’s a non-shooter right now, people developing jump shots as their career goes on is not unheard of.
Players like Brook Lopez have extended their careers thanks to developing their three-point shooting, so there is no reason for Hayes not to be able to do the same if he works hard enough at it. The next thing Hayes can do is improve at attacking the rim. Whether he does it by getting stronger or gaining a softer touch does not matter, but he has to improve his ability to drive to the rim dramatically to get defenses to respect him.
The Last Word
Hayes does not have the skill set to succeed in the NBA right now. But that does not mean he can’t develop into a decent role player in the future.
The lottery pick is still a solid passer and active defender; what lets him down is his scoring ineptitude. Hayes must find simple and efficient ways to put the ball in the basket. Once that is done, he can find his way on an NBA roster and stick there.