The Detroit Pistons are approaching the choice between keeping or cutting their 2020 first-round pick.
The development of the young core should still be the Detroit Pistons‘ primary focus this upcoming season. One of the biggest mysteries of this process however looks to be the fit of point guard Killian Hayes.
A significant starting point of Detroit's restoration process began in 2020. General Manager Troy Weaver's first draft with the Pistons carried heavy expectations to start turning the franchise around. Using their number seven selection in that draft on Hayes has shown to still be a work in progress.
Hayes excels as a crafty on and off-ball defender. Unfortunately, his overall scoring consistency still needs a lot of help in order to believe in his progress. At this point in the Pistons' rebuilding process, it's not clear where Hayes fits in their future plans.
Here are three concerns that are troubling to Killian Hayes' future in Detroit:
Limited Offensive Development
The same offensive deficiencies have plagued Hayes since he was drafted in 2020. He has only averaged 8.4 points per game through his first three seasons while shooting 38% from the field and 27% from three-point range. Hayes also struggles to finish strong at the rim as well as in the midrange.
His biggest all-around strength on the court is arguably his passing. That skill unfortunately can be limited in growth without the ability to score and draw attention away from defenders. His passing could excel in transition but the Pistons need to see some growth in his half-court offense as well.
Hope is not impossible as we have seen the left-handed point guard have breakout scoring games in his career. It should not take a career-high 28-point outburst to solidify a role with this team. However, he needs to find a niche that works within the new offensive system of newly acquired head coach Monty Williams.
Hayes was the first guard drafted by Weaver when he took over as Detroit's General Manager. Since making Hayes their number-seven selection, Weaver has drafted three other first-roun guards in Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Marcus Sasser.
Cunningham and Ivey look to be the focal point backcourt the Pistons want to invest in long-term. Sasser is entering his rookie season and could be the new backup for the future.
Weaver also signed veteran point guard Monte Morris to add some experience to the roster. He also brings the ability to play as an off-ball shooter averaging 39% from three. That should create spacing for the playmaking of Cunningham or Ivey and also give the Pistons the ability to use creative lineups against opponents.
The Pistons also just drafted forward Ausar Thompson at number five in the 2023 NBA Draft. Thompson also specializes as a ball-handler and could get plenty of opportunities to run the offense for Detroit.
The guards on the team offer most of the skills that Hayes already brings. If he wants to stand out on a young roster with limited minutes, he will have to solidify some of those inconsistencies as soon as possible.
Pistons Are Ready To Start Winning
The Detroit Pistons have spent a lot of their offseason emphasizing how they want to start winning. One of the ways to head in that direction is by solidifying your roster to build consistency with the right foundation.
Detroit is running short on time and roster space to treat every player like a project. Being one of the youngest teams in the league means a lot of the young players need minutes in order to grow. The Pistons will have to sacrifice some of that development time in order to focus on the best and proven players.
Hayes could be in a position where he might be better slated on a franchise that can follow his development timeline. The Pistons and Hayes could be on opposite paths if wins start piling up despite the production of their 2020 first-rounder.