Detroit Pistons: Grading the 2020 NBA Draft

Detroit Pistons first round pick Killian Hayes
Detroit Pistons first round pick Killian Hayes /
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Killian Hayes
ULM, GERMANY – MARCH 08: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Killian Hayes of Ratiopharm Ulm Images via Getty Images) /

7. Killian Hayes

Killian Hayes to the Detroit Pistons? Qui, Qui

From the moment the Pistons emerged from the draft lottery with the No. 7 overall pick, fans jumped onto various mock drafts and big boards. They all came up pretty much with the same answer for a team desperate for a young, playmaking guard: Killian Hayes.

The prediction was turned into reality on draft night, as the Pistons selected the 6-foot-5 guard out of France (and Lakeland, Fla.) with the seventh pick.

Detroit general manager Troy Weaver Jr. described Hayes as a bigger version of Miami Heat all-star guard Goran Dragic.

With Bruce Brown Jr. and Tony Snell having been traded,  Derrick Rose being 32-years-old and on the last year of his contract (and also could be traded),  the Pistons are in need of an impact playmaker at the guard position. Hayes fits the bill.

He is not some incredible athlete who will jump out of the building or outrace anyone on the fast break with his blazing speed. Hayes just knows how to play the game of basketball.

He comes from a basketball family. His father, DeRon Hayes, was a standout for Penn State. Hayes started playing professionally in France starting at age 16 (they do not do the high school, college basketball thing in Europe) and has been a standout on the French junior national team for several years.

What jumps out about Hayes is that he simply a basketball player. In this age of specialization, he does everything you would want a point guard to do, handle the ball, shoot when open and pass to the open player. But he also can be a shooting guard, knocking down threes and working the pick and roll.

He also has a 6-8 wingspan, which will help on defense.

The biggest knock on Hayes has been his right hand or, more to the point, his lack of its use. Playing for Ulm in the Bundesliga last year, he used his left hand almost exclusively. You will hear virtually every NBA team shout ‘make him go right’ when he has the ball, until Hayes prove it is not a liability.

Hayes says he has worked diligently on strengthening his right hand, and it is no longer a problem.  When Marcus Smart or Terry Rozier are in his grill, we will truly find out.

Looking at all their moves, Detroit does not plan to work Hayes slowly into NBA action. He will be etched in coach Dwane Casey’s starting lineup from Game 1 onward.

Basically, Hayes is rated as a really, good player and, at No. 7, the Pistons should be expecting to get a really, good player. Sometimes the most obvious choice, is obvious for a reason.

Grade: A

Overall Pistons draft grade

The overwhelming opinion in the basketball media is that the Pistons knocked it out of the park. CBS Sports gave them an A+ and FanSided gave Detroit an A.

A factor both sites considered is that to get those extra three draft picks, two of them first-rounders in the top 20, Weaver did not have to break the piggy bank. Outside of a heavily protected first-round pick five years in the future, and Luke Kennard, who they were going to have trouble re-signing, not much of the Pistons assets were touched.

However, you have to also consider that two of the four players Detroit selected were reaches, according to most NBA mock drafts. Lee was not even projected to get drafted at all on some boards.

The final case for drafting Killian Hayes. dark. Next

Bey and Hayes’ selections were lauded by all and should form 40% of the Pistons starting lineup for many years to come (barring injury of course). If Stewart and Lee also pan out, all the better.

So, in all, a good night for Detroit

Grade: A-