Scouting Report: Killian Hayes

Killian Hayes Scouting Report

By: Alex Brown @AhbAnalytics

Player Profile

2020 Draft Age: 18.90 Years

Measurements: 6’5, 195 lbs, 6’8 wingspan.

Background: Born in Lakeland, Florida on July 27, 2001. Previously in France with Cholet Basket… Signed to the German club Ratiopharm Ulm in 2019. Killian’s agent is Yann Balikouzou. Won gold at U16 Euro Championship (averaged 16/7/5) and silver at U17 World Cup (16/4/3). Team finished 10-10 in German BBL, 1-9 in Eurocup, 2-1 in German Cup. Hayes declared for the 2020 Draft on March 27th. Played 25 MPG against pros as a lead ball handler, creator, and initiator. Has had international scouts’ eyes on him for a long time.

Injury Report: No public injury information available.

Personality: Killian Hayes has a really high understanding of the game, and is a student of the game so to speak. He has shown that he is quite adaptable and a very quick learner. He is a rather humble, intelligent, logical, and articulate individual. He can flash frustration at misses and when he makes mistakes, but nothing unusual that takes him out of the game. High standards for himself.

Athleticism: Average burst, more of a crafty guard. Good coordination/body control. Vertical is rather average. he could really benefit from some explosiveness training and general lower body strength work. Shifty laterally, and able to get effectively employ euro-steps, etc. Longer strides. Not really strong enough yet to finish through much contact generated by non-guards.

Projected Role: Lead Initiator, defensive disruptor, secondary/tertiary shot creator.

Projected Draft Landing: Top 5

Statistical Profile (Acquired via RealGM)

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Career Projections:

  • High: High level lead initiator (elite in P&R) with strong secondary shot creation and scoring output. His shot develops and allows him to be a volume threat from deep, which unlocks more versatility in P&R and off-ball play. Shot development helps him maximize the perimeter looks that he creates for himself off the dribble, regularly utilizing step-backs, etc. His right hand develops to a much more serviceable level. Added strength and explosiveness from NBA training help him become a high level finisher to complement his crafty game. He embraces being a disruptive perimeter defender with strong off-ball play that is able to defend 1-3 effectively in time. High level core initiator with scoring creation upside and disruptive defense vs 3 positions. Potential fringe-star guard, especially if right hand becomes great.
  • Medium: Strong lead initiator (elite in P&R) with secondary/tertiary shot creation value. Not incredibly strong off the ball, but develops to a serviceable enough level to score off the ball effectively. His strength makes some leaps from an NBA training program, and allows him to add some more versatility to his finishing package. Becomes a disruptive defender against the guard spots and small wings, with average off-ball defense. Long-term starter/core with strong value on both ends as an initiator and defensive disruptor vs guards.
  • Low: Strong P&R specialist initiator, below average shooter, and tertiary creator (mostly P&R). Right hand and off ball play do not develop to a serviceable level, thus limiting his versatility on the offensive end. Does not add much strength to his frame but remains a crafty finisher that can score in the paint, especially as the P&R BH. Maintains disruptive defense against guards and some small wings with average off-ball defense. Starting initiator or 6th/7th man on a good team with a winning impact. P&R specialist and defensive disruptor vs guards.


Synergy Profile:

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Killian’s Shot Chart via InStat


  • Elite P&R Handler IQ/Scoring Upside: Hayes creates a high percentage of his offense in pick and roll situations This should translate very quickly, and is always an essential trait in high level lead guards. He shot 64% at the rim as a P&R handler, and while his isolation game did not produce much in the paint, his ability to manipulate the defense for easy looks for himself is notable. Killian reads the defense at an incredibly high level for an 18 year old lead guard, understanding rotations that many NBA players fail to see. He is also beginning to really punish defenders that go under screens with dribble pull-ups and step backs depending on the situation. He also has that floater and mid-range pull-up to employ when needed to keep the defense honest and locked in on Hayes. Of course, shot development will be the primary swing factor regarding whether or not he can be a truly elite P&R operator, but the indicators are quite positive.
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Shot Chart: Hayes in P&R as the BH

  • P&R Playmaking: As mentioned above, Hayes has elite vision and recognition as a playmaker when operating in the pick and roll. He is a master at reading defensive rotations and makes elite level reads consistently. He is able to make these reads at a higher level then many starting lead guards in the NBA today. He recognizes the developing sets with admirable speed, and reacts accordingly (especially when he can get to his left hand). With the P&R and motion offense being so prevalent in the modern game, I see no reason why Hayes would not thrive in time as a primary playmaker at the NBA level. Furthermore, Hayes has that live dribble passing ability (with his left only) that is valued evermore in the modern pace. He needs to add some more to his right hand passing package to maximize his talent, but he is a special playmaker in P&R nonetheless. He is also quite good in the open court, able to throw one handed passes cross court at a high level.
  • Shooting Improvements: The big issue scouts had with Hayes was his shooting despite the myriad of positive indicators like strong touch and growing confidence. Hayes notably has that Harden-esc step back footwork that allows him to consistently generate open looks off the dribble. His shot is also rather versatile, and could really be great if he strengthens up his lower body. I think lower body strength is the major limiting factor he needs to work on that will influence his shot, though this is not my area of expertise. Regardless, the fact that Hayes can create his own shot from 3 and is developing a spot up game is incredibly encouraging. The execution is getting better, but not there quite yet. I think he could really be a plus shooter in many areas in time.

  • Free Throw Shooting: While Hayes could certainly be getting to the line more often (as he is more contact avoidant right now), he has been really effective at converting opportunities when he gets there. He hovers around the mid-80’s from the line, which is a positive indicator regarding his shooting touch/upside. Furthermore, his consistent efficiency from the line makes the idea of becoming more aggressive and physical as a driver appealing.
  • Creative Handle: Hayes has a shifty and deceptive handle that allows him to create for himself and others. He is able to create space on the perimeter with occasionally James Harden-esc step/hop backs, and can work defenders off the dribble and manipulate them around screens. He is exceedingly comfortable sizing much older pro players up, and as he strengthens up and develops his shot he could really unlock some high level driving. However, he needs notable work with his right hand, and can kill his dribble when forced right. This leads to some turnovers that just will not happen as he matures and develops his skillset. Furthermore, his creative handle helps make up for his lack of elite burst.
  • Finishing Upside: Hayes has a lot of positive indicators for his potential as a finisher. His positional size, length, wide range space generating moves, and the threat of his playmaking will be valuable tools in developing his finishing. He just needs to execute consistently and recognize when to use certain moves, etc. The IQ is there, he just needs to put the reps in and execute. Furthermore, added strength would completely change his finishing package (less fading floaters, etc). If he could put on some muscle and add some explosion, whew.

Improvement Areas

  • Right Hand (All-Around): Hayes is heavily left hand dominant, and it is holding his true potential back. Specifically, he needs to develop his right hand as a finisher, live dribble passer, and ball handler in order to maximize his potential and versatility. I believe it will improve with time, but it will take a little while to break the instinctual need to go to his left all the time. The lack of right hand comfort causes him to not be able to make some situational passes effectively or finish properly. Unlocking this will cause quite a jump in versatility.
  • Off-Ball Fundamentals: Hayes has always been an on-ball type of player, so naturally his off-ball play can be a bit behind. His footwork and mental approach off the ball need to be improved, and are likely to with experience. He has shown flashes of comfort off the ball, but just needs more reps and development as many of his tendencies are instinctual from playing on the ball his whole life. He shot 10/34 from deep in catch and shoot situations.
  • Turnovers: Hayes could be more secure with the ball when passing, as he averaged 4.7 turnovers per 36 minutes. He can force the issue as a playmaker and can get attacked when going to his right quite effectively (or when he kills his dribble). However, I strongly believe that this number will be reduced with time as he becomes more and more comfortable and continues to learn how to counter specific defensive schemes. Note that the pro German BBL defenders were quite aggressive in their schemes against an 18 year old Hayes, perhaps more so than at the NBA level.
  • Shooting Volume, Consistency: While Hayes has some positive shooting indicators, he still needs to continue to work on further developing his jumper. His shooting form looks solid, and has very little wrong fundamentally. He has natural touch and growing confidence, he just needs to execute more consistently and look for his shot more often to open up the game.


Synergy Profile: (Not the best measurement, but added information).

Synergy Sports - Multi-Game Player Views - Google Chrome 4_1_2020 7_06_09 PM.jpgStrengths

  • Disruptive when Engaged: Killian’s length, coordination, and quickness allow him to be an effective disruptor when engaged. He notably has very quick and active hands as well, and can generate deflections often. His length will give him advantage over some 1’s, and he moves well enough laterally to stick with most of them. Note: His effort does not wane anywhere near as much as Edwards or Ball.
  • Off Ball Potential: Hayes has the tools to defend the NBA 1 & 2 as well as smaller 3s for similar reasons as listed above, which makes him a guard that no scheme will have to mask or run switches for off-ball. He has pretty good fundamentals off the ball with occasional lapses as expected, but when he locks in he can be a really good off ball defender, frequently jumping passing lanes and making correct gambles that do not hurt his teammates. His excellent hands are a valuable commodity off the ball as well, and should help foster development.
  • Consistent Improvement: Hayes has made major defensive strides over the year in the German BBL while adjusting to new schemes and styles. He does not have nearly as many lapses in effort/engagement as other top guards… He really showed that he is a quick learner defensively, which bodes well for his long term upside on the defensive end. He became notably better when defending ball screens, and really showed some high level defensive plays as the year went on.

Improvement Areas

  • Foul Trouble: Hayes can get too handsy on the ball, and he needs to learn how to balance his disruptive tendencies. I do not doubt that this will improve with time, but it may get him into trouble early if he tries to overdo it against more built NBA guards. This is certainly better than a lack of engagement though.
  • Strength: As almost all 18 year olds are not as built as their NBA counterparts, many need to put on serious muscle and fill out their frame to maximize their talent. Hayes is no different, and on the defensive end there were many moments where opposing guards were just more physical with him because of this. Adding strength, especially lower body, will be critical to developing his versatility moving forward.

Overall Outlook

Hayes is a long-term prospect with a high floor and higher ceiling. In time, he projects to be a really strong lead initiator with an incredible IQ and feel for P&R. His shot is buyable, but will need time to become higher level. Killian Hayes is my current number 1 prospect in this class due to the high chance he has to be a strong, winning initiator with two-way upside. In a class full of question marks, I am more willing to take the chance on Killian’s upside and question marks than other guards. He likely will not be as statistically productive as some of the other guards (especially Ball), but production is not everything when measuring a guard’s winning impact.

Major Swing Factors: Shot development, right hand development, strength.

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