Detroit Pistons: 3 Pistons with the most to prove next season

Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Detroit Pistons
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – APRIL 29: Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes must prove he was worth the seventh overall pick

Last offseason, the Pistons had their highest draft pick since the team selected Greg Monroe with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. With the seventh pick in 2020, the Pistons drafted 19-year-old Killian Hayes.

Hayes was selected to be the team’s franchise point guard, but the 19-year-old struggled in his first year in Detroit.

The 6-5 guard was immediately thrown into the Pistons’ starting rotation, and the young rookie struggled as a result. A hip injury just seven games into the season would sideline Hayes for the next 40 games. Upon his return, the point guard had to recover from his injury while also trying to catch up on missed opportunities for development.

Hayes’ rookie season was turbulent, to say the least. The point guard finished the season averaging 6.8 points and 5.3 assists per game. As a shooter, Hayes was well below the league average, he shot 27.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Despite his struggles, the rookie showed a lot of promise this past season. Hayes was a creative, flashy passer for the Pistons, and he proved to be the team’s best playmaker when he was on the court. As a defender, Hayes was able to use his long arms to disrupt passing lanes and showed promise as an on-ball defender as well.

Related Story. Breaking down a proposed trade of Killian Hayes for Fred VanVleet. light

Hayes’ hip injury stunted his growth as an NBA player. In those 40 games that he was sidelined, Hayes missed out on opportunities to develop his game and get comfortable with the pace of NBA games.

The point guard started to put it together at the close of the season. In his final five games, Hayes averaged 11.2 points and 6.4 assists while shooting a more respectable 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Continuing this positive trend is imperative for Hayes next season. Despite showing flashes of a good player, Hayes also showed holes in his game that need to be addressed. Namely shooting and scoring ability. Hayes was inefficient from both beyond the arc and within it last season. He is sporting a 35.3 percent shooting percentage from the floor.

Time is on Hayes’ side for his development. The guard will be 20 at the start of the 2021-22 season, and he will have the two team options on his rookie contract following next season to continue reaching his potential.

That being said, Hayes still has a lot to prove next season. He needs to show he can be a reliable scoring option on the team and show he has the potential to be a respectable shooter as well. He needs to prove he can get over the growing pains of being a young point guard in the NBA and cut down on his turnovers, he averaged 3.2 last season in just 25.8 minutes per game.

Hayes is not entering a make-or-break season next year, far from it. However, the young point guard does need to prove that he can become the player that the Pistons thought he could be when they drafted him with the seventh overall pick last offseason.