What is the point of Killian Hayes coming off the bench?

Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Killian Hayes has spent the past few games coming off the bench for the Detroit Pistons. Is that a smart move to help develop the former No. 7 overall pick in the NBA Draft?

Killian Hayes was made the starting point guard from his first day as a rookie, mostly because he had been drafted so high. Basically, the Pistons wanted to throw him out there and see what they had.

Now mid-way through his second season, Hayes is much more experienced than the 19-year-old who had only played professionally in Germany. However, the 6-foot-5 Frenchman (out of Lakeland, Fla.) currently is coming off the bench for the Pistons.

So, now that he understands the NBA game more, and is a better player, Hayes has been moved from starter to sub. Does that make sense?

In terms of winning and being more competitive, putting a hot-shooting veteran guard like Cory Joseph instead of Hayes in the starting lineup is a good idea. Joseph has a ring, and can help Cade Cunningham in the backcourt. He is also shooting a sizzling 45-percent on three-pointers, so he can contribute on offense for a starting five that has gotten off to slow starts many a game.

Related Story. Killian Hayes must now become a scorer for Detroit Pistons. light

But this season is not about how high in the standings Detroit can go (reality check: not very), it is supposed to be about development and seeing what players are part of their future. If that truly is the case, Hayes should have remained in the starting lineup. He struggled? So what, he needs to learn and grow, not play against scrubs. Who cares if he looks good against the Cleveland Cavaliers subs. He was not drafted seventh to be a nice backup.

There are positives and negatives with Hayes heading to the bench, let’s look at them:

Why Killian Hayes is better off coming the bench for Detroit Pistons

3. Helps ease him into play: He is still just 20-years-old, and since Detroit is not exactly fighting Miami for first place, no reason to rush him. Let Hayes learn at his own pace. He also has missed a ton of time with injuries, so he’s really more of a rookie, in terms of game experience.

2. Gives him a a chance to command his own unit: Hayes can run the show for the ‘bench mob’ and not have to worry about stepping aside while Cade Cunningham or Saddiq Bey do their thing. Being an orchestrator of the offense is what he was drafted to do.

  1. He likes it: Hey, players accepting their role is half the battle. Hayes told the Detroit News‘ Steve Kornacki he has adjusted to the new position:

"“I’m going to have the ball in my hands a bit more with the second unit,” said Hayes after the Orlando game. “Just trying to bring more energy and be more vocal with the second unit coming in, and then also, whenever I play with Cade, just give him help as the point guard.”"

Hayes’ numbers are actually up as a sub, scoring more points in the four games since moving to the bench. Of course, averaging 6.3 points and shooting 34-percent from the field is kind of a low bar.

He was a plus-16 in the Pistons big win over Cleveland. While he may not start, Hayes has finished. He, Cunningham and Joseph all played down the stretch as Detroit rallied for the victory.

light. Related Story. It’s past time that Killian Hayes was moved to the Pistons’ bench

Why Killian Hayes should go back to being a starter for Detroit Pistons

3. He is the freakin’ No. 7 pick in the draft: If Hayes can not start for a team with one of the worst records in the NBA, something is wrong. Tyrese Haliburton (drafted No. 12) drops 38 on the 76ers, and Hayes can not even be a starter? Please.

2. Chemistry with Cunningham: News flash – Cade Cunningham is going to be around for a lo-o-ong time, most likely as one of the cornerstones of the franchise. We need to see if Hayes and Cunningham can co-exist as fellow starters. Playing Hayes only in spot minutes with Cade does nothing for figuring out if Hayes has a future with the team. Because if he can’t play with Cade, he has none.

  1. What is the point of Cory Joseph starting? He is 30-years-old and has one year after this season remaining on his contract (if he picks up his player option, he may not). Joseph is probably gone in a year or so. It is pointless for him to be taking minutes away from Hayes (or Saben Lee for that matter).

We are not knocking Joseph as a player. Quite the opposite, he is doing really well and is also a team leader. But he should be on a team like the Celtics or Nuggets, clubs that could use him in the playoffs. Starting him is a waste of his abilities and does not help the Pistons future.

Next. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes on the hunt to score … finally. dark

There are certainly good and bad points to Killian Hayes coming off the bench. Coach Dwane Casey says, for now, it is an experiment. We will see if this experiment ends up being a success.