Name: Jaxson Hayes
Height (w/ shoes): 6’11.5″
Weight: 220 pounds
STATISTICS (32 GAMES)
10.0 points (72.8/NA/74.0), 5.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks.
Before even stepping on an NBA court, Hayes has NBA-level footwork and athleticism. He knows how to establish his position on defense and keep his feet moving while on offense, even if he is a bit slow as a runner.
However, what sticks out most about Hayes is his touch. He shot a ridiculous 72.8% from the field in his only season at Texas and had a bone bruise not kept him out of the tournament, he would’ve added another elite layer to that Longhorns team.
Offensively, he can score in pretty much any way he wants within five feet. Defensively, his natural instincts and athleticism make him a top-tier shot-blocker. Averaging over two blocks a game was just the tip of the iceberg. His defensive box plus-minus of 7.3 on the season put him in the top-20 in the entire nation.
Hayes is a solid big man and although he may not be able to make an immediate impact on an NBA team, there’s a chance he becomes a JaVale McGee-level role player in a few years.
Hayes has natural offensive and defensive skillsets. However, his game is still very raw and underdeveloped. His lack of feel on the offensive end makes him a near negative playmaker and rebounder. While he’ll catch everything thrown his way and put it in the basket, he’s not ready to handle legitimate NBA schemes.
Defensively, he is a bit slow and lumbering. This means that any fastbreak situation instantly becomes a five-on-four as he may not be able to get back in time. In the half-court, he’s a very useful defender, but today’s NBA needs centers who can switch and play smaller players. Hayes is simply not ready for that.
As a shooter, he has almost nothing. His jump shot is practically non-existent, as he didn’t take a single three-point shot in his 32 games at Texas. Outside of 5-7 feet from the basket, he’s of little to no use. And while a jump shot can be taught, it’s unlikely that happens in his first couple seasons.
Hayes is absolutely a hard worker, but there are so many underdeveloped parts to his game that it could be years before he’s an effective player in this league.
FIT WITH LAKERS
The main needs for the Lakers are for a rim-protecting big man and perimeter shooting. Hayes fits one model well and the other not at all. However, even his defensive instincts wouldn’t be enough for him to help the Lakers for the 2019-20 NBA season.
If selected by the Lakers, he’d likely spend a lot of time with the South Bay Lakers in the G League and it’s extremely unlikely they would look at anybody who couldn’t make an immediate impact.