Is Killian Hayes the right pick for the Knicks?
I was warming up to the idea of Killian Hayes prior to this interview. The defense, the IQ, the passing, the ability in both the half court and transition, the fact that his dad was a pro – the only things giving me pause were the right hand (moderately big deal) and the jumper (HUGE DEAL).
But you hear a scout like Spencer express confidence in it; you watch the tape and see solid mechanics; you dig deeper and discover that the three-ball is the only shot he couldn’t hit efficiently..
It’s been decades since a Knicks’ point guard could score efficiently, facilitate effectively, and hold his own defensively. If Derek Harper doesn’t count, we have to go all the way back to Clyde (or Micheal Ray?) to find someone who could do all three. Could Killian Hayes be the player to end that drought? I believe he could.
So you’d take him at 8? I think he’s a strong option if he makes it this far. Again, big boards suggest he could be long gone by the time the Knicks are on the clock, but if he’s there and the Knicks nab him, it can’t be considered anything but a good outcome.
Would you trade up to make sure you get him? No, and I wouldn’t do it for LaMelo, or Edwards, or (insert lottery talent here). This is not the draft for that kind of move. All the top names come with risk, and while Hayes seems to have a high floor and a clear path to improvement, he’s no exception,
What if, somehow, it was between him and LaMelo? I don’t do a big board, which is a good thing since I’m wrong regularly, but if we’re talking preference: give me the defense, the finishing, and the better chance at a jumper. Which is to say, give me Hayes.
Wait, wait, wait – you’re saying you prefer him to a consensus Top-2 prospect, yet when asked if you’d take him eighth, all you could muster was “strong option” and “good outcome?” If he’s the selection, I’ll be happy. I’d also be happy with Devin Vassell, who’s an awesome defender in his own right, already has the jumper down, and plays without the ball. As someone who wants to see RJ take on more of a playmaking role this year, I see Vassell as a perfect complement.
And, but then also…
Passing and defense and…”blazing speed?” Can play both on and off the ball? Shot just a hair under 37% from 3 with flashes of deep range?
There’s a lot I don’t know, including what the Knicks should do with this pick, but here’s what I do know: there are several intriguing options we expect available at 8 (or later in a trade down), and Hayes is certainly one of them.