Detroit Pistons: 3 NBA stars Killian Hayes should study this offseason

Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) drives to the basket against New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (4). Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) drives to the basket against New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (4). Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
Detroit Pistons
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 01: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets  (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons: James Harden can teach Hayes how to attack the basket and refine his shot creation

Killian Hayes struggled as a scorer this past season. The 19-year-old shot 35.3 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc in his first year. The rookie also shot 44.4 percent at the rim.

Scoring efficiency was a major area of concern for Hayes last season, and missing 40 consecutive games due to injury did not help. In a year where the rookie should have been able to develop throughout the stretch of a shortened 72 game season, Hayes was sidelined for all but 26 games.

Hayes has the potential to be an efficient shooter as he develops in the coming years. while the youngster’s shooting splits do not look pretty after one year, his free throw percentage of 82.4 percent shows promise towards him becoming more proficient as a shooter from mid-range and beyond the arc.

When it comes to attacking the rim, Hayes struggles come on an overreliance on his left hand and trying to avoid contact.

When the rookie point guard drove towards the cup last season he often avoided making contact with his defender. Hayes would have opportunities to attack the rim and draw a foul if he were to fight through contact with his defender, but instead, the rookie would either contort his body to avoid contact or just kick the ball out to a teammate. He also would often try to score exclusively with his dominant left hand rather than switch hands depending on which would create an easier layup.

Related Story. Predicting Killian Hayes' stats for next season. light

These traits led to a lot of missed opportunities at the rim for Hayes. His avoidance of contact is highlighted by his .7 free throw attempts per game.

If Hayes wants to improve as a scorer at the rim and become a better shot creator, James Harden is the perfect player for him to study.

Harden is one of the league’s best scorers and a fellow lefty. The 6-5 guard attacks the rim with purpose and is adept at finishing with both hands. The former Arizona State Sun Devil is not afraid to generate contact on his drives either. Harden averaged 10-plus free throw attempts per game in seven out of his eight full seasons with the Houston Rockets.

One of the biggest reasons that Harden is the player Hayes should study when it comes to scoring and shot creation is that the two lefties utilize similar moves when creating open shots for themselves.

Both Hayes and Harden utilize deep step-backs and sidesteps when creating their own shots. These moves cause a lot of distance between them and their defenders and creates an open jump shot.

Hayes’ shots will start to fall more consistently with time. The 19-year old will develop his jumper into a more reliable weapon with experience. What he stands to gain by studying Harden this offseason pertains more to how he creates shots and attacks the basket.

On drive attempts, studying Harden will help him not shy away from contact. As a shooter, studying Harden’s moves to get himself open will help Hayes develop his shot creation to the next level. He will likely never be as prolific a scorer as Harden is, but by studying how the former MVP creates for himself and attacks the basket, Hayes can develop into a reliable scorer going forward in his career.