With the draft lottery just two days away and the Suns out of postseason play, all eyes turn to the draft and possible fits for Phoenix. With that in mind, let’s turn to Killian Hayes.
The Phoenix Suns need for a competent backup point guard has been mentioned a time or two in Phoenix Suns circles, not just for the short-term but also as an heir apparent for Ricky Rubio, who while still very good, is nearing 30. The good news from this draft is that there are a few interesting point guard prospects. One of them, Killian Hayes, is the subject of today’s dive.
11.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks
49% FG (58.4% 2PT%) 33% from three-point range, 87% from the free-throw line
Killian Hayes has a case to be the best pure point guard in the draft. At 6’5, 195 pounds, Hayes is easily one of the best passers available, able to make many different types of passes from all three levels and pass teammates open with is superior accuracy and superb passing vision He seems to favor a one-handed pass with his left hand (more on that left hand later) but the accuracy and change of velocity that he is able to put on that pass make it a go-to, reliable weapon in his passing arsenal. His great feel for the game and overall strong basketball I.Q. combined with his height make Hayes a great distributor regardless of the situation, and that’s before you factor in the fluidity with which he gets to his spots on the offensive end.
Hayes’ creative handle is competent enough in that he gets to where he needs to go, and he utilizes a great change of pace combined with good footwork to diversify his offensive attacks. When it comes to attacking the basket, Hayes does it with authority, going up strong and minimizing the opportunities that the defense has to strip him of the ball. His touch and body control are also positive attributes that Hayes uses to his advantage on his rim attacks, whether that be taking it all the way to the cup, or utilizing his silky-smooth floater/mid-range game.
Killian Hayes’ game would fit in like a glove among the Suns roster, with his versatility adding another weapon to Phoenix’s attack on both ends.
By no means is Hayes an attacking or slashing point guard alone; Hayes’ jump shooting is also very good. His touch, form, and footwork on his shot are all extremely solid (he shot a very good 87% from the free-throw line), and if he can become a full-blown, knockdown shooter, this ceiling rises exponentially.
On the defensive side, Hayes can be technically sound, although he doesn’t bring to bear his athletic talent on the defensive end as much as he does offensively. He can be beaten off the dribble by quicker players, and his focus on that end isn’t exactly ideal, as he can drift off in play and lose assignments mid-action. I expect that he will be at best a competent defender starting out at the NBA-level, and if he continues to work at it, he could short up that relative weakness altogether with the physical gifts he brings to the table.
Speaking of relative weakness, Hayes could look to improve on a few things. On the offensive end, it would be helpful if he were to didn’t try to force the issue offensively, at least to the extent that it means forcing passes that aren’t there or overpassing. He also must simply work on using his right hand, as he is so left-hand dominant that it is entirely too easy to focus on. He also has to get his handle a bit tighter. Defensively, it just comes down to focusing on the fundamentals, especially when it came to closing out on shooters.
All in all, Hayes would be a great addition to the Suns, someone who comes with size, elite playmaking ability, solid shooting, and the potential for both offensive and defensive versatility that would fit in perfectly alongside Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio, and other Suns guards and wings. If he is available when Phoenix goes to pick, Hayes has the makings to be a simply fantastic selection.