Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes is alive and kicking.
He turned from Killian to Kill Monger with one swift blast to the head of Orlando Magic center Moritz Wagner.
His fore arm smash to the back of Orlando Magic Wagner (I refuse to call it a punch) is no walk of shame for the Pistons guard. He deserves praise.
Hayes retaliated after a dirty shoulder shove from Wagner while the two chased down a loose ball in last Wednesday’s game at LCA. Hayes went crashing into the Pistons bench and emerged as a pit bull going on the attack.
Good for him. It was a dirty and dangerous play because the two men were traveling at 100 miles per hour near the bench and stands.
The NBA responded by suspending Hayes for three games, which means he won’t play in this weekend’s back-to-back games in Chicago and Minnesota. And again, Monday night in Portland. Wagner, the instigator, only received two games.
It’s good to see the league overreacting to Piston’s transgressions and not punishing opponents the same.
Let’s go back to the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, when Boston Celtics center Robert Parish used Pistons center Bill Laimbeer’s face as a speed bag. There is no way officials missed it. It occurred in the paint on national television. Parish received no foul or ejection. The league stepped in and suspended the Chief for a whopping one game. Hayes has shown a pulse for a couple of months now.
The walking triple-single is now a walking, talking and functioning NBA player. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.6 assists in December. Prior to that, Hayes numbers were much more anemic – 2.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in November.
Do you remember when Hayes shot 17 percent from the floor? Do you remember the young man whose confidence was so crumbled that he passed up open shots?
That guy is gone.
So what happened?
Since being drafted No. 7 in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Pistons used their next two first-round picks on guards to replace Hayes. That can affect you mentally. Even Pistons Hall of Fame guard Isiah Thomas became irate when the Pistons drafted point guards.
Hayes appears to have put the past behind him. He seems more comfortable in his skin and is content with leading the bench when Cade Cunningham returns next season from injury.