When the Detroit Pistons were on the clock with the 7th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, many people had them taking a point guard. The Pistons desperately needed a floor general to start their rebuild and what better match than Killian Hayes. A 19 year-old oversized French point guard playing in Germany who was already familiar with the 2019 first round pick for the Pistons in Sekou Doumbouya.
Detroit Pistons GM Troy Weaver fell in love with the 6’5, 195 pound Hayes and selected him with the first pick. Before also selecting two more first rounders in Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart to join him. Weaver understood prior that Hayes had weaknesses in his game. Not being able to shoot the ball from 3-point range effectively and finishing consistently with his right hand. But all that was shadowed by the 19 year-old’s high ceiling with his passing vision and crafty ball-handling. The start to Killian Hayes’ career was rough offensively, in the first 7 games of his career before his hip injury he averaged 4.5 points per game. But nevertheless his instincts for stealing the ball translated seamlessly into the league. Averaging 1.1 steals in a short injury riddled 23-game season.
Adjusting from pro European basketball to the NBA
The NBA obviously is hard for some people to adjust at such a young age, especially with a raw game like Killian who struggles to shoot from beyond the arc. The speed of the NBA compared to overseas is also quite the adjustment on rookies. One thing Killian did different coming back from Injury was being aggressive early to get his own shot and create for others. Doing so allows Killian to play his game and feed his teammates which he does best.
In the final 9 games of the NBA season, he averaged 7.5 points and 6.6 assists showing improvements to his game. The hip injury short into Killian’s young career didn’t help his adjustment to the NBA along with finding his groove. One positive thing to take away from his rookie season would be his basketball IQ. Being able to shoot the ball effectively can be achieved through hard-work and dedication. Especially if he can shoot free throws without concern already.
Killian Hayes ended his rookie year with a bang, achieving numbers no other Piston has since Grant Hill. He went for 21 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls. The Detroit Pistons have a high chance at a lottery pick this year and can add more talent around Killian Hayes. The future is most definitely bright in Motor City.