Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes needs more of this type of play

Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) dunks the ball. Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) dunks the ball. Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons are hoping Killian Hayes has a big breakout season in his third year in the league.

The French point guard just turned 21-years-old, but this is an important season for his future, as the Detroit Pistons will have to make a decision about his team option very soon.

We all know Killian Hayes can defend and that he is a good passer, but his shooting has been woeful thus far and he will eventually have to be some type of offensive threat if he wants to keep his spot in the rotation.

But that doesn’t mean he has to start launching and making a ton of 3-point shots or mid-range jumpers. In fact, if Hayes wants to improve as an offensive player, he should start by leaning into something he already does well, which is finish in transition.

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There have been some recent examples of guys who were able to make themselves more effective offensive players by being more aggressive on the fast break and not launching as many shots in the half court.

Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes in transition

If you look at Hayes’ shooting numbers from last season, they are pretty awful from just about everywhere on the floor. Here were his shooting numbers by distance:

  • <5 feet: 57.6 percent
  • 5-9 feet: 36.4 percent
  • 10-14 feet: 43.5 percent
  • 15-19 feet: 23.3 percent
  • 20-24 feetL: 30.8 percent
  • 25-29 feet: 23.3 percent

As you can see, the only spot where Killian Hayes was effective at all was near the rim, where he shot 57.6 percent.

Many of those shots came in transition, and Killian has shown that he can be a weapon on the fast break and in secondary transition plays as he was here:

The problem is that Hayes only got 17.9 percent of his shots in transition, which is a low number for a guard, especially one that has trouble knocking down jumpers. The league leader was Josh Hart, who got over 36 percent of his shots in transition.

It was arguably the best season of Hart’s career, as he stopped launching so many 3-point shots and started being much-more aggressive in transition, getting the ball and making a beeline for the rim, where he is a good finisher.

Guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo get upwards of 27 percent of their shots on the break, which is something Killian can emulate, as he is a strong guard who can beat his man down the floor and finish through contact.

He’s also a good rebounder, so he can create his own offense by grabbing boards and going with it, looking for early offense instead of waiting for the defense to set up, which should play into his strengths.

It may be awhile before Killian Hayes is a knockdown shooter if it happens at all, but he can be a force in transition, push the pace and be aggressive looking for early shots at the rim.

Being more aggressive in transition will also open up his passing game, as teams will have to respond and react when he has the ball, which will lead to more open looks for his teammates.

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