Killian Hayes should be at the top of the Phoenix Suns draft board

Phoenix Suns, Killian Hayes (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Killian Hayes (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

There is still much to sort out when it comes to where the Phoenix Suns will fall in the draft, but a prospect they should have on top of their board is Killian Hayes.

It seems like the Phoenix Suns have been relying on the NBA Draft for an eternity, but that may be coming to an end soon. Phoenix has improved greatly from last season and despite still being a lottery team, Suns fans can see the team is trending in the right direction.

One of the biggest problems for Phoenix since the departure of all-time great Steve Nash in 2012 has been finding a franchise point guard, and if the lottery works in the Suns’ favor (assuming the Suns stay in the lottery after the season’s return) they may finally find what they’ve been searching for in Killian Hayes.

Killian Hayes is a 6’5″ point guard who plays for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany and is the perfect fit for the Phoenix Suns. Hayes is a tall guard who is a natural-born playmaker all while being able to be a presence on the defensive end.

Hayes was enjoying a breakout season in 2019-20 with career highs across the board. He has put up 12.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game in only 10 games played is very impressive for an 18-year-old kid in a league full of grown men. While his stats may not be eye-popping, you can definitely see the potential while watching him play.

Luka Doncic is a guy whose stats were also not jaw-dropping overseas but you see the impact he is having in the NBA. I don’t think Hayes will be a Doncic type caliber player, but he could very easily be a franchise cornerstone for this Phoenix Suns team.

Killian Hayes would be a great fit for the Phoenix Suns.

The most fascinating part of Hayes’ game is his passing. He has a natural ability to pass the ball and find the open teammate. Suns fans have seen a difference in play since the arrival of elite playmaker Ricky Rubio, and adding another talent who can learn from the vets and coaches definitely makes the team better.

Despite criticism early in his career, Hayes has developed a consistent 3-point shot. He shot 39 percent from outside this season on a career-high 4.1 attempts per game, and made a total of 16 3s in only 10 games played, compared to his 16 makes in 42 total career games before that.

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Killian has also shown to be a very capable defender, whether it is inside or out on the perimeter. He averaged 1.5 steals and 0.2 blocks a game while compiling 15 steals and two blocks in his limited action this season.

What really excites me is his size. Hayes, a 6’5″ point guard, is ideal in what’s becoming a positionless game. If the Suns kept the same starting 2-5 for the future and inserted Hayes they wouldn’t have a starter below 6’5″.

The weaknesses are few and far-between for Hayes. Obviously, to be successful he is going to need to be able to listen and learn how to play in the NBA. The NBA is a different atmosphere than overseas and it will take some adjusting, which is fine for a guy who wouldn’t immediately start.

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Another aspect Killian will have to work on is still his shooting. Despite his improvement, he will still need to continuously work on his stroke from deep. The NBA is fastly transitioning into a 3-point shooting league and it seems that in order to be a factor in today’s era you need a reliable shot from distance. Other than maturing and learning the differences between the NBA and overseas, I don’t see many areas where Hayes will have to improve in order to be a force one day.

After looking at the overall player profile of Killian, you have to look at how he fits on the Suns. Rubio is probably going to be the starting point guard until his contract is up (maybe longer), which may turn out to be a good thing if the Suns do land Hayes. He will have the perfect role models to look up to in Booker and Rubio along with a great mentor coach in Monty Williams.

He won’t be expected to take over as a starter from day one and once he comes to his own, and he will provide good competition for Jevon Carter and Ty Jerome for the backup role.

It’s hard not to see the positivity Hayes would bring to this team and how he would affect every player in a good way, his playmaking makes the whole Suns frontcourt jobs easier, and overall improves the team.

If he’s available whenever the draft happens, the Phoenix Suns should make sure to get him.