Detroit Pistons: Monty Williams could save Killian Hayes’ career

Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Killian Hayes is coming off the best season of his career with the Detroit Pistons, finishing the year averaging 10.3 points 6.2 assists 1.4 steals per game. Still just 21-years-old going into his fourth season, he’ll need to prove himself to the new coaching staff, especially considering he’s on the final year of his contract and may not get an extension.

Hayes still has untapped potential and head coach Monty Williams could be the perfect coach to pry it out of him.

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Killian will be granted a fresh start from Monty’s staff but solidifying a spot in the rotation will not be as easy depending on who else the Detroit Pistons sign this summer. Training camp will be competitive as players joust for positioning on the depth chart. Hayes will look to make his impact felt early, so expect a competitive, spirited, and intense training camp.

Detroit Pistons: Monty knows the value of shot distribution… it’ll help Killian Hayes score! 

Hayes is a natural when it comes to distributing the basketball, continuously finding ways to get his teammates going. Bojan Bogdonavic had a career year playing alongside Hayes, being the recipient of his crafty dimes. Hayes assisted Bogdonavic on 88 made field goals, that’s more than the next two Pistons combined. However it doesn’t stop there, he also has the most assists to both Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey amongst other Pistons.

Hayes could flourish in Monty’s system with his ability to read the floor. The philosophy opens the player up to quick reads and decisions, while keeping the ball moving. This plays into Killian’s strengths (finding the open man) and could be the difference maker in his efficiency woes as well.

We know Killian Hayes can pass, but he was also the worst shooter in the NBA last season, something that could change under Monty Williams.

Another nuance to expand Killian’s offense will be more cutting with intent to score. Teammates will be held accountable in a “read and react” scheme to make those passes when available. Killian off cuts to the rim weren’t bad last year, shooting 60 percent, but oddly he didn’t take many, only getting off 10 shots all last season. That’s something Monty will implement more of during his tenure, emphasizing ball movement and player movement is his calling card. Finding creative ways to get easy baskets for Hayes will allow more minutes for arguably the teams best perimeter defender.

Killian Hayes can defend, forcing turnovers  

At 6-foot-5 Killian can be a flat-out menace defensively, pestering the ball handler and forcing turnovers. Hayes has been the team’s leader (or tied) in steals per game every year since being drafted. This past season he averaged 1.4 steals per game, adding his name on a list reserved for Pistons royalty.

Hayes has five games of five or more steals, that’s the sixth most in franchise history. Others on that list include Ben Wallace, Isiah Thomas, Grant Hill, and Lindsey Hunter, all who know a thing or two about defense. However, Hayes happens to be much younger than those players and could be just now scratching the surface of his capabilities. Those five games were tied for 10th in the NBA. Jimmy Butler has the most with nine such games of five steals.

Killian’s defensive prowess will be a delightful surprise to the coaching staff. Having a young player who willingly works hard on defense is a coach’s dream player. Killian can guard multiple positions on the perimeter, occasionally switching on to bigs when needed. It’ll be interesting to see how Monty utilizes him on that end of the floor. Whatever defensive scheme Williams decides to implement Killian will be a intricate part for the foreseeable future.

If Monty can better utilize Killian’s passing and defense while getting him some easier buckets, he could end up becoming the exact back up point guard the Detroit Pistons need.

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