The 2020 NBA Draft is almost here, so it's time to become more familiar with some of the prospects.
French prospect Killian Hayes, who competed for Ulm in Germany's Budesliga, is one of the first guards expecting to hear their name called on draft night. At 6-foot-5, 215 lbs., he already has the size to compete in the NBA, but should his skillset develop, what would his peak look like?
Our NBA.com staff gives Hayes a player comparison for his ceiling in the league.
Juan Estévez (@JuanEstevez90): When I think of the ceiling for Killian Hayes, I think of someone similar to Deron Williams - a big point guard (Hayes is two inches taller) who relies more on strength and skills than speed, and can generate offence for both himself and his teammates.
Hayes is one of the best passers in this class and while he might not project as a top scorer, I can see him posting around the 20 points and 10 assists that Williams averaged from 2007 to 2012 at his peak. Of course, that depends on how much he improves as a shooter (and the use of his off-hand). His 3-point percentages are worrisome, but there's nothing particularly wrong with his form and he has the touch to become a much better shooter in the future. His great free-throw percentages and how effective he is on floaters around the paint prove that.
Big point guards who can shoot, generate points from the pick-and-roll and defend multiple positions are not easy to find. Deron Williams was one of them and maybe, Hayes becomes the next one on that exclusive list.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): For the record, I love Juan's comparison of Hayes to Williams and I wish I thought of it myself. But I'm going to say that Hayes ceiling looks like that of Jamal Murray.
While we're clearly still seeing what Murray's ceiling may become in real time, I believe that Hayes could have a similar path to success in the NBA. They're both bigger guards and although Hayes has an inch on Murray, they're currently listed at the same weight of 215 lbs. Hayes is more of a pass-first guard than Murray, but the way they operate with the ball in their hands is similar. Hayes thrives in the pick-and-roll and he's a great decision maker, using keen playmaking instincts to find open teammates.
He has the ability to create his own shot off the bounce, has nice mechanics and a soft touch on floaters and layups, his jumpshot's consistency just isn't there yet. He has the potential to be a three-level scorer in the NBA, similar to Murray, who is still working on his efficiency four years into his career. The difference is that Murray is much more athletic and scoring comes naturally to the Kentucky product, but in the right situation with good coaching and some solid players around Hayes, I think he could build the confidence to become a more natural scorer.
Just as patience has gone a long way in evaluating how great Murray could be in the future, I think the same will go for Killian Hayes at the NBA level.
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