With a rebuild fully underway, the Washington Wizards can afford to take some risks and swing for the fences for the next few seasons. Often times, when teams are in this situation, they like to take project players, former lottery picks that have yet to pan out, and other moves similar to this.
This is how teams like the Milwaukee Bucks went from one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league for most of the 2000s to having their current roster, the foundation of which was put together 10 years ago. Much like the Bucks, the Wizards have been anything but competent over the past 10 years, whiffing on draft picks and making short-sighted trades on a regular basis.
This is why trading for former seventh overall pick Killian Hayes makes more than just a little sense.
The Washington Wizards should consider trading for Killian Hayes
While his scoring has plenty of room to grow, this may be somewhat of an understatement, his defense and playmaking are among the best in the league. These are the biggest aspects of his game that has kept him as a rotational piece for the Detroit Pistons this season, other than the severe injury bug they caught.
In his first three seasons in the league, Killian Hayes has averaged 8.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game. While these don’t stand out like many would expect from a lottery pick, they are incredibly comparable to a young legendary point guard.
Ignoring the winning stats due to obvious reasons, Rajon Rondo had nearly the exact same stats as Hayes, just with a slight increase in nearly every stat in his first three years. However, much of that increase can be attributed to the three hall of fame players he shared the floor with.
For comparison, Rondo averaged 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0,1 blocks per game. Even his efficiency was only slightly better than Hayes’, but he also took nearly three less three-point attempts per game at the same efficiency.
The one big aspect of the game that separates the two is potential to become a decent shooter. Rondo hit only 63.5% of his free throws through three seasons while Hayes hit 80.3%. This is usually an aspect of the game that shows that a player can develop a quality jump shot.
We even know that he can become an average shooter because he has added a pull-up jumper to his game. He hit 40% from the traditional midrange area (10-15 feet from the rim) while taking nearly a quarter of his shot attempts from there.
His production could greatly increase next to legit scoring options like Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma. We already saw his efficiency slightly rise in the half season he shared with Cade Cunningham, a player who is not quite the scorer that Poole is.
What would a trade for Killian Hayes look like for the Washington Wizards
The biggest problem facing the Wizards in a potential trade for the former seventh overall pick is the fact that the Pistons are looking to make a playoff push and are in need of a forward. This likely means that unless the Wiz are willing to move on from Kyle Kuzma or Corey Kispert, they would need to add a third team.
This is what made the most sense to me:
In this trade idea, the Wizards receive two players who are under the age of 25 and have shown legitimate promise with the Pistons. They also receive a pick swap that will likely end in receiving their own pick in return.
Even better, both players slated to end up in DC with this trade fit perfectly with the current roster. The biggest intrigue of the trade of course being Killian Hayes who still has potential to become a good to great two-way point guard in the NBA. He would definitely bulk up their already sneaky good defense for next season.
The Pistons get to fill out their small and power forward rotation by adding combo-forward Robert Covington, a more than capable three-point shooter and borderline elite defender. while giving up two players who likely aren’t in their long-term plans.
the biggest hitch in the potential trade, however, is the Los Angeles Clippers. The only way they ever decide to make this move is if all trade talks regarding James Harden fall apart. If that does happen, this seems to be the next best option to clear out their logjam at the forward positions and finally add another facilitator.
While this trade proposal and target may seem preposterous at first, especially considering that much of NBA Twitter considers Killian Hayes to be the worst player in the NBA, it is absolutely worth the risk at this stage in the rebuild. His strengths complement Jordan Poole’s weaknesses and vice versa, they could become a deadly backcourt combination. Why shouldn’t the Washington Wizards roll the dice on a 21-year-old lottery pick?