To say that the beginning of Killian Hayes’s career has been suboptimal would be an understatement. Between injuries, shooting struggles, and difficulty finding his place in the rotation, Hayes has been through a lot. However, the Pistons could not have envisioned the start of year three to be this bad. Through his first 10 games, Killian Hayes is not only down in minutes and average attempts. But also, Killian Hayes is down in his points and efficiency. In year three, Hayes is averaging 2.7 points per game on 18 percent from the field. According to StatMuse, he is one of few players in the league to have more assists than points this season.
Players with more assists than points this season (minimum 20 AST):
Killian Hayes lost his confidence, Pistons have complicated problem
Ever since the regular season has begun, Killian Hayes has appeared to be a shell of himself. And it has showed in the box score, but also in his body language. It’s obvious that Hayes is more timid the more he continues to struggle, and those struggles are carrying over defensively. He is regularly causing more fouls than turnovers, and if he isn’t producing on the defensive end, he isn’t exactly justifying his place on the court. If he were to cause turnovers, and make plays with aggresssion on defense, he can dominate defensively. However, it seems that the times he has tried to make plays happen, has resulted in getting in foul trouble.
Another issue facing Killian Hayes is that his playmaking hasn’t been up to his standards either. The one area of Killian’s game offensively that was proficient is not currently the case. His 3.1 assists a game is partially as a result of his second unit’s lack of ability to score. The Pistons bench is currenlty 29th in the league in points per game. And at times, Killian is their most aggressive player on the offensive end. Detroit has started to stagger minutes with starters and the second unit to alleviate the scoring. However, when Hayes is on the court with the starting unit, he looks timid. And as each game goes on, the worse Killian Hayes plays. As each shot doesn’t fall, you can see the weight visibly on his shoulders. He is in the most important days in his career, and he is currently regressing.
What Detroit does next is crucial for Killian’s career
Even though it’s only been ten games, it’s clear Killian Hayes is struggling badly. Troy Weaver might need to consider making a change with the roster. Whether that’s assigning Hayes to the G League for a stint, or acquiring a new backup point guard. Cory Joseph is a player that has seen his place in the rotation essentially diminish this season. And placing him in the lineup makes the Pistons worse on the defensive end. One thing that is apparent is that something needs to change. Both for the sake of Detroit, and also for the sake of Killian’s development. Going to the G League could be the biggest blessing for Hayes. It also could destroy his confidence.
Ultimately Killian Hayes does not need to develop as a player physically. If you gave Chris Paul the physical gifts of Killian Hayes, you might have the greatest NBA player of all time. It is impossible to not compare the struggles Hayes is having to Ben Simmons in Brooklyn. Both players are incredibly talented on the defensive end, and are incredible playmakers. However, both are unable to shoot, and seem to be affected mentally on and off the court. Mental health can be a real battle, and it seems that it is translating in their games as well. For Ben Simmons, he has the security of 2-3 more years on a max rookie contract. But for Killian, however, his contract is only extended through next year. There is no certainty.