Killian Hayes: Missed shots and winning plays for the Pistons

Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Killian Hayes started the first regular season game of the season for the Detroit Pistons. He shot 33.3 percent from the field and missed all six of his shots from beyond the arc. In just over thirty minutes, he had a block, a rebound, two steals, three assists, and one turnover to go with his ten points.

Despite poor shooting, Killian Hayes contributed to winning basketball.

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Had his teammates shot the ball better, he would’ve had more assists and, perhaps, would’ve taken better shots. Nonetheless, he finished with a +1 in the +/- column and was on the floor in crunch time of a close game against a good team.

Killian Hayes is a few made shots away from being really good

If his shooting caught up to the rest of his game, we would be chanting MVP every time he stepped to the line.

Well, that’s probably an exaggeration, but between his defense and his court vision, he’d definitely be a fan favorite instead of one of the most polarizing players on the team.

I’m looking forward to the entire team’s offensive development this season. I believe the Pistons have the pieces to provide a nuanced attack that includes Killian Hayes.

The Detroit Pistons have floor spacers who either struggled against the zone defense or who sat out the first game due to injuries.

Detroit has athletic bigs who can block shots, protect the rim, and collapse defenses.

And the Pistons are big. Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, and Ausar Thompson are all good-sized for their positions. We saw this on full display, as Detroit had Thompson defending Bam Adebayo effectively at times and Hayes shutting down the bigger Jimmy Butler late in the game.

It was their defense that helped reduce a 19-point deficit to just one with seconds to go, so even though he wasn’t making shots, Hayes was making winning plays that will eventually lead to some W’s.

As the Pistons integrate all of their tools and learn Monty Williams’ system, they should gradually, through the course of the season, showcase their versatility. As the Pistons develop, Killian Hayes will develop.

When his teammates make shots, spread the floor, and move through the space their outside shooting provides, Killian Hayes will prove his court vision and passing acumen. When defenses shuffle to close out passing lanes, Hayes will find himself open.

As the court gets bigger, the hoop gets bigger. A bigger hoop will improve Hayes’ confidence. Improved shooting will accompany improved confidence.

So the offensive struggles remain, but the Detroit Pistons are trying to change their culture around defense and Killian Hayes is going to be a big part of it.

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