NBA Draft Spotlight: Jaxson Hayes

No freshman went from a largely unknown prospect to a first-round pick the way Hayes did. Now it is almost a foregone conclusion that the mobile rim protector will gain some attention in the lottery.

Position: C From: Texas Class/YOB: Freshman
Height: 6’11 Weight: 220 Wingspan: 7-4

Strengths:

  • Highest defensive upside of any post player in the class. For a freshman, he has already mastered going vertical to contest shots in the paint. He can go from short corner to opposite block quickly, allowing for a lot of weak side rejections. His feet are good when defending in the post, so even when he’s losing the strength battle, he is able to get in position to defend hooks and turnaround
  • Pick-and-roll defense should be a big asset. At nearly 7-foot, he is remarkably agile laterally. His anticipation and aggression can be off a bit, but that’s more of an experience issue than anything. Even when beat, he makes shots and passes on the inside difficult
  • High level offensive rebounder. No matter what the play, he attacks the glass for putbacks. Very difficult player to box out because he will run around you or use his size to take rebounds right over you
  • Good frame, athleticism, and overall potential. He has already added some strength since arriving at Texas. Has a 7-4 wingspan with smooth agility. Was more of a guy reliant on athleticism in high school but he has worked on intricacies on both ends to maximize those gifts. His offensive game is raw, but he could be a threat attacking the rim from 15-feet if he keeps improving. Doesn’t shoot much, but he’s around 75 percent on foul shots
  • Active all the time. Rebounding, defense, loose balls, he’s all over the court
  • Acts as a screen outlet with his ability to finish lobs and convert within 10 feet as well as anyone. His offensive role in the league is as a screen and roll guy who demands attention because of how athletic of a finisher he is around the rim. Displays good hands and touch

Weaknesses:

  • Very limited offensive game. Footwork as a post scorer is lacking and he doesn’t ever seem to be definitive about a move. Will look to take guys off the dribble when he catches at the elbow, but isn’t really skilled enough yet to beat NBA bigs
  • Below-average strength for a center. Has skinny legs and a developing upper body. NBA weight programs should do him wonders
  • Foul issues have taken him out of some games this season. Remains highly efficient with his minutes, but he picks up some early ones hedging screens or hacking in the paint. I’m fine with his fouls on offensive rebound attempts
  • Offensive IQ is a question. Right now he’s all dives and second chances. When given space, he seems lost. Still very young, he will need to keep learning how to move in an offense

Stats:

PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% 3PT% FT%
10.0 5.0 0.3 0.6 2.2 0.9 72.8% 0.0% 74.0%

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