Jaxson Hayes Signed With Lakers To Play With Stars & Doesn’t Regret It
LeBron James, Jaxson Hayes, Lakers
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

A priority for the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason was to add some center depth behind Anthony Davis in case he was forced to miss time. General manager Rob Pelinka did so by signing Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood, who both have had their moments this season.

However, with Wood being out since Feb. 14, Hayes has been the lone big behind Davis, which puts pressure on the All-Star center to stay out of foul trouble. But on Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Davis took a shot to the face and ultimately missed the rest of the game, forcing Hayes to step up.

The 23-year-old thrived in pick-and-roll with D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, dropping 19 points and 10 rebounds, including thunderous dunks.

When discussed if he regretted coming to the Lakers given his inconsistent playing time early in the season, Hayes stated that the reason he signed with the team was to play alongside the likes of LeBron James, Davis, Russell and Reaves, and he still believes that this situation was the best choice for him.

“This offseason I definitely had a few options and one of the main reasons I wanted to come here was the great players that they had like DLo, like Bron, like AD, Austin, and just be able to play pick-and-roll with guys like DLo and Austin and LeBron,” Hayes said. “So I felt like this was the best choice for me and I definitely don’t regret it.”

Setting screens and rolling to the basket has been a big part of Hayes’ role, although he has had moments of setting illegal screens, resulting in foul trouble in limited minutes. Hayes talked about his growth as a screener and how when he sets a good screen, he can become a great lob threat for any of the Lakers ball-handlers.

“Definitely have grown a little bit,” he said. “I got a lot more to do. But yeah, I’ve just kind of gone through this season trying to learn when to set them and when to slip them. Just how guys like certain screens, like if certain guys need a slip out, certain guys like me to flip it when I get there. Just stuff like that definitely helps. Being able to play with all the guys and get the reps in is definitely very helpful.”

It is great to see Hayes continue to grow, especially alongside two future Hall of Famers and there is still time to learn even more should L.A. make the playoffs. With Wood out for probably the rest of the season, this is a great opportunity for the former lottery pick to prove his worth.

D’Angelo Russell: Lakers center Jaxson Hayes is in for big payday this summer

When signing with the Lakers, Hayes inked a two-year minimum contract with a player-option for the second year but with his recent play, it could result in him declining his option. Russell believes that the former Texas Longhorn is in store for a big payday this summer due to his recent play, so Hayes could very well be headed towards free agency.

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