The Detroit Pistons should keep their eyes set on Killian Hayes in the upcoming NBA Draft.
This years’ draft is a bizarre one for several reasons. Obviously, the shortened college season and lack of in-person evaluation up to this point have made this a unique draft process for everyone involved, including the Detroit Pistons.
It’s also out of the ordinary because most teams picking in the lottery already have some foundational pieces in place, and therefore conceivably should be drafting for need at the top, despite conventional wisdom suggesting teams do otherwise.
The Pistons are not one of the these teams, as very few of the current players on their roster figure to be around in a few years, so I’m of the belief their strategy coming into the draft should be picking best player available.
Luckily for the Pistons, the player who I feel is the best talent in this draft is also one who fills an immediate and pressing need. That player is the 19-year-old French guard, Killian Hayes.
Hayes is unbelievably polished for a kid who just turned 19 years old. He’s a savant in the pick and roll, combining a potent outside shot (39 percent) and plus playmaking (6.2 assists per game) to be an incredibly efficient ball handler, distributor and scorer.
He has all the tools you look for in a modern guard, with the shooting ability to keep the defense honest and space the floor, the vision and handle to be a lead creator, and the size to move around in multiple-guard lineups.
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He isn’t an eye-popping athlete, but he’s quick and shifty, and knows how to use his body and the space around him to create offense. He has uses step-backs, euros and spins effectively and simply has a deep scoring bag.
He already sees the floor like a pro, and put up solid numbers for Ulm this past season at 13 points per game and 6 assists per game on terrific 46/39/90 splits.
He provides the combination you want from a early lottery selection of a high floor, with his track record of overseas success, along with a high ceiling from his elite vision and feel. This is the type of player you can build a franchise with.
The Pistons have been without a franchise point guard since Chauncey Billups, and are too far away from being competitive to shoot for a win-now option like Fred VanVleet, especially considering Blake Griffin‘s age and injury history.
Their best path forward is a full-scale rebuild, and Hayes is a great prospect to start that arduous process with, who comes into the league with several years of professional experience and a proven track record, along with tons of upside left to develop at just 19.
With selecting Hayes, the Pistons would have to feel like they have their backcourt of the future solidified with he and fellow left Luke Kennard, and can move forward in the rebuilding process confidently knowing those two pieces are in place.
The Detroit Pistons will pick at seventh overall, and if Hayes is on the board when the Pistons make their selection in October, he should be the pick.