Detroit Pistons: The final case for drafting Killian Hayes

NBA Draft prospect Killian Hayes could be a Detroit Pistons target. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
NBA Draft prospect Killian Hayes could be a Detroit Pistons target. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

The NBA Draft is coming up on Wednesday. It is time to take a final look at the top prospects, and how they would fit with the Detroit Pistons. Here, we make the case for, and against: French guard Killian Hayes.

Almost from the moment the Detroit Pistons were slotted at No. 7 in the NBA Draft lottery, Killian Hayes was tagged as one of top players with a chance to be taken by them.

Although born in Lakeland, Florida, Hayes (the son of former Penn State standout DeRon Hayes) has spent his entire basketball career in Europe, where  his father played professionally.

The 6-foot-5, 182-pound guard has played professionally since he was 16. He began in France (where he spent most of his childhood) and moved to play in Germany’s top league last season.

Hayes burst onto the international scene when he won a gold medal with France and was named MVP of the 2017 FIBA Under-16 European Championship. The following year, he helped the French get a silver medal at the FIBA U-17 Basketball World Cup.

Mock drafts have the smooth, well-rounded guard going anywhere from fourth to 14th.

Hayes is not some unknown player who suddenly popped up on NBA team’s radar. They have all been watching him progress for a long time. The Detroit Pistons brass have, undoubtedly, spent a lot of time evaluating Hayes.

Final case made: Why Detroit should draft Killian Hayes

On the biggest stages, Hayes has stood out. He has mostly played against much older players but, when he was matched up with those his own age, he has been dominant.

You do not get named MVP of the U-16 European Championships or make the all-tournament team at the U-17 World Cup, without a lot of skills.

Hayes is 6-5 but has a 6-8 wingspan. He can make slick passes thanks to the wingspan, and it also helps him as a defensive player.

In the European championships, he showed his passing skills as Hayes averaged 5.1 assists, in addition to 16.6 points and 7.0 rebounds.

In his one year in the Bundesliga, Hayes played against men  older by10 years or more. According to, he ranked 50th in the German BBL in scoring (11.6 ppg), 13th in assists (5.3 apg) and 17th in steals (1.4 spg) in 25.1 minutes. He also shot 39% on three-pointers in his club’s EuroCup games..

Hayes is tall and has proven he can pass, shoot and play defense. He is also battle-tested against international competition. If Detroit is looking for someone to plug in and play immediately, Hayes could be their best bet.

Related Story. Why Killian Hayes Should Top the Detroit Pistons Draft Board. light

Final arguments: The case against drafting Killian Hayes

Hayes has been pointing to this moment for a few years. When his club team in Germany possibly was going to re-start in June, Hayes had told them he would not participate as he was getting ready for the draft.

Although he has gone against mostly older players, the fact Hayes did not play either high school or college basketball in the United States hurts in evaluating him. NBA teams simply have not seen how he matches up against the other elite prospects.

Hayes is left-handed, which since most players are right-handed, it is in general a positive, as they are not used to guarding lefties. However, the biggest mark against Hayes is his opposite hand, the right. More succinctly, the lack thereof.

Hayes rarely uses his right-hand to handle or pass the ball. In the NBA, guards will quickly notice and adjust. The call “Make him go right” will be heard from every opponent’s bench, when Hayes has the ball.

Coming from a basketball family, it is not surprising that Hayes has a superior basketball instinct. He is not an amazing athlete who will jump out of the building.

With a somewhat slender build, Hayes might have problems on the defensive end. He has good stats in terms of steals, but he could be out-muscled on the pick-and-roll or when a player is driving to the basket.

Of course, taking a player who was a standout in European play has not always gone well for the Pistons in past drafts (see Milic, Darko).


Being a young (only 19), tall, smart playmaker, Hayes checks off almost every box the Pistons have in looking at prospects. It would also mark the second year in a row they drafted a French player.

Next. Detroit Pistons: The final case for drafting Onyeka Okongwu. dark

Hayes is both well-known due to his international play, and a total mystery, due to only playing European club ball. European ball is high-level, but it is a different type of game than the NBA.

But Hayes going to Detroit would be probably one of the more expected moves in what should be a volatile draft. That is not always a bad thing.