Killian Hayes is a top prospect in the 2020 draft, born in Florida and raised in France as the son of former ABA player, DeRon Hayes. Initially he was a projected to land in the lottery in this year's draft, but he's continued to slowly creep up big boards across the league. Kudos to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer for being the first to publicly name Hayes his #1 overall prospect in the 2020 crop.
There's a lot to like upon first glance about Hayes: his rangy 6'5" frame, the silky finesse of his offensive game, and his touch on his jumper and passes. And our model agrees, Hayes looks like a future star:
- Hayes grades as an elite scorer, with a 95/100 grade in our model. He doesn't stand out as exceptional in any one aspect of his ability to score statistically, but he clearly has all the tricks already, move-wise.
- Hayes, like 2020 classmates Aleksej Pokusevski and LaMelo Ball, has the passing gene in spades. Hayes averaged 8.3 assists per 36 (97th percentile for guards).
- He took and made a good number of three pointers, shooting 2.1 / 5.5 per 36, making them at a 39% clip
- Hayes was an excellent free throw shooter, shooting 91% (98th percentile for guards). This bodes very well for his scoring and shooting potential
- He posted 2.0 steals per 36 (83rd percentile for guards). He also graded out at a respectable 58/100 defensively (72nd percentile for guards)
- He's young. He would've been 19.2 years old as of the day of the draft before it was postponed. He's the 4th youngest player in this year's draft.
- He did all of this against top competition. The numbers we used for Hayes are from his time in the EuroCup, the second best hoops tournament in all of Europe. He did this playing against grown men in their primes, a situation much tougher than playing in the ACC.
- He's a non-factor as a rebounder. He only grabbed 3.1 boards per 36 (11th percentile for guards)
- He doesn't get to the line as often as you'd like, with only 3.0 attempts per 36 (14th percentile for guards)
- He turns the ball over a lot. He committed 4.4 per 36 (3rd percentile for guards). He loves to make flashy plays. Sometimes a bit too much.
I love Hayes as a prospect. He's so skilled, so smooth, and so clever. He makes side-step threes where you see elements of James Harden to his game. He'll make beautiful hook passes coming off of screens where he looks like Goran Dragic, prodding and manipulating the defense. He has a great pedigree as the son of a former player. He has a long frame that makes him ideal for positionless basketball.
There really aren't any major red flags in his profile either. He commits too many turnovers... but are we sure that's not what we'd want from an 18 year old who's been blessed with the Ferrari package? He could stand to improve his strength and gain some weight, but again, the guy just turned 19 years old.
Hayes looks great on tape, and he looks great in statistical modeling (look at those comps!). He'll contribute immediately as a scorer, shooter, and facilitator, and should be an adequate defender as well. There'll be a learning curve for him, but he should be a leading contender for Rookie of the Year if given ample opportunity. The common comp for him is D'Angelo Russell (and our model agrees), but I think he's a better and more willing passer, and frankly more of a winner. Hayes has a chance to be really special. I think we've been blessed with the second coming of Manu.
- Our Comp: Manu Ginobili
- Suggested Draft Range: Top 2
- Immediate Impact: Moderate (position-fluid pick and roll ball handler, but will be mistake prone)
- Long Term Potential: High (Hall of Fame potential, lead guard averaging 20 PPG / 4 RPG / 8 APG)