Killian Hayes needs to respond to G-League pressure

Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

Killian Hayes is currently the most polarizing player on the Detroit Pistons, as some fans are already prepared to call him a bust, while others think he has All-Star potential.

I am somewhere in the meaty ground between those two extremes, as I do think Hayes has a lot of untapped potential and that he needs more time to develop it, as he has still only played 50 games in the NBA, hardly enough time to get an accurate evaluation on a 20-year-old point guard.

But it’s also fair to question his long-term fit with Cade Cunningham, and whether the Pistons might be better off moving him to the bench or moving on from him altogether.

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Like I said, it’s way too early to think about trading Hayes, as the Pistons would be selling low on a guy who is STILL 20-YEARS OLD and trying to find his role on a team that just drafted another point guard.

But some fans have rightfully pointed out that some of the G-Leaguers who replaced him played well enough to at least put some pressure on Killian Hayes and let’s hope he responds.

Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes is getting pressure from the G-League

It started with Saben Lee, who went to the G-League and started putting up 40 point games regularly.

That has yet to translate to real NBA games, but Lee has at least shown plus athleticism and the ability to get to the rim and finish, something that Hayes has yet to do.

Most recently, Derrick Walton Jr. was called up and put on some of the best “pure point guard” performances of the year, regularly getting to the rack and setting up teammates.

The offense was flowing and the ball was moving with Walton Jr. out there, who averaged seven assists per game in his three starts with the Pistons.

Let’s not get it twisted, Hayes has more talent than either of these guys, as Lee is not nearly as good on defense and Walton Jr. is 26-years-old, so he should be a more polished player than a guy who is five years younger.

But Hayes definitely has to be feeling the pressure a bit, and hopefully it will motivate him to play more like his G-League counterparts, which means being more aggressive, making quick decisions and not being afraid to shoot the ball when he gets the opportunity, especially off drives.

I hope the recent play and effort of the G-Leaguers motivates all of the Detroit Pistons, as they came up and played like every game might be their last. These young regulars need to realize that nothing is a given in the NBA and that there are always hungry players behind you waiting to take your spot.

I’d love to see Hayes return with some fire and ready to prove he’s the guy who deserves that spot in the starting lineup.

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