NBA teams are always in need of an athletic big, and Jaxson Hayes fits the mold. Hayes has tremendous size and length that should bode well for his transition to the NBA. After assessing his strengths and limitations, let’s find Jaxson Hayes’ NBA Draft fit and possible landing spot.
Breaking Down Jaxson Hayes’ Game
In 31 games played for the Texas Longhorns, Jaxson Hayes averaged ten points per game, five rebounds per game and two blocks per game. Though these are not outstanding numbers at first glance, the two blocks per game stand out. Hayes has an elite shot-blocking prowess at a young age.
Hayes is still a bit of a raw prospect, but that should not hinder his draft stock. Jaxson Hayes’ first start came in his senior year of high school, a testament to a huge growth spurt he had. From his freshman year of high school to his lone college season at Texas, Hayes grew from six-foot to six-foot-eleven. It’s no mystery why he has a knack for protecting the rim.
Many of the top-ten lottery teams have a foundational scorer that they would like to build around. As such, Hayes can fit in the system and needs of many of these lottery-bound franchises. Mock drafts have Hayes high on their board, and after assessing his draft profile let’s predict which NBA franchise will be granted with Hayes’ skillset.
Jaxson Hayes’ size, length, and athleticism give him a boost over other NBA prospects. Hayes stands at six-foot-eleven with a seven-foot-four wingspan, a mold that has “defense” written all over. As a result, Hayes became an elite rim protector at Texas despite averaging only 23.3 minutes per game. Averaging 2.2 blocks per game. With the physical traits he brings to the table, Hayes should have no problem translating his defense to the NBA.
Despite his defensive prowess, Hayes also has an offensive appeal for prospective teams. He’s consistent when finishing around the rim and averaged a solid 1.8 offensive rebounds per game. Hayes also shot a surprising 74 percent from the free throw line, and should he get fouled he’ll make defenses pay at the stripe.
Despite his impressive frame, Hayes will need to add muscle if he wants to compete against NBA competition. Players with his frame, athleticism, and skillset thrive off of lobs in the NBA, but that won’t be enough. Hayes needs to add muscle as well as hone his game to survive inside the paint against tougher competition.
Given his little playing time with the Texas Longhorns, NBA teams know they are taking on a raw prospect with high potential. His offensive game will need to improve, as will his efficiency from the free throw line. As a big with a skillset heavily dependent on defense, opposing teams will send you to the line. Hayes needs to develop offensively to meet his lofty potential.
Hayes’ frame and strengths mimic the role that Jarrett Allen currently serves with the Brooklyn Nets. Similar to Allen, Hayes’ next steps will be to add muscle and better his offensive game. Jarrett Allen lost the battle against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. Jaxson Hayes should take note of this, and work to prepare himself against the elite centers of the league.
Round 1, Pick 10
Hayes’ brings a coveted skillset that any team would welcome, but especially these lottery-bound teams looking for a piece to rebuild with. At number ten, the Atlanta Hawks find a defensive piece to pair alongside rookie sensation Trae Young. With Hayes joining the fold, Atlanta hopes their rebuild progresses once again in 2019.
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