It doesn’t mean the Knicks will pick him if he falls to No. 8 in the NBA Draft, but Killian Hayes currently has a narrow edge as the team’s second point guard on the board after LaMelo Ball, according to NBA sources.
Hayes, the 19-year-old left-hander who played in Germany last season, is considered to have a more supreme skill set than the other lottery-projected point guards such as Tyrese Haliburton, Kira Lewis, Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton, Theo Maledon and Tyrese Maxey.
It should be noted the NBA has just relaxed player workout rules, allowing four half-hour in-person workouts/interviews/medical evaluations, so a turn of affairs can still be in order before Nov. 18. Four team officials are permitted at a Hayes workout.
The Knicks had gone into last season with an eye on drafting a point guard of the future but they are not stuck on that idea since president Leon Rose took charge in March. For instance, if forward Obi Toppin falls to No. 8, they certainly would pounce. Small forward Isaac Okoro also has intrigue.
Hayes has agreed to do a limited number of private, in-person workouts with one team. The Knicks probably will be granted an audience, according to a source.
A live, in-person workout for Hayes is considered important since he didn’t benefit from the exposure of the NCAA.
“He’s a great pick-and-roll point guard,” said Rashad Phillips, who runs the “SportsTalk 2319“ mock draft. “He’s a dominant left-handed guard but he has great speed and shift and is a decent shooter.”
Hayes is Florida-born but his father, DeRon Hayes, played in France after a four-year college career at Penn State and that’s where Killian grew up.
Hayes opted against the NCAA and played for Ratiofarm Ulm in the German League. Hayes’ stock has risen since the March shutdown and he’s been placed before eight in some mock drafts. Hayes interviewed with the Knicks in June on Zoom.
The Post has reported the Knicks have seriously considered trading back from No. 8 to pick up an extra asset in a draft riddled with parity. For instance, they can get a young player in a trade and fall to No. 15 and draft someone like Maledon, who is considered a better playmaking point guard.
Knicks brass have a lot of varying opinions on lottery picks after Ball and big man James Wiseman, both of whom they covet.
In 33 EuroCup and German League games, Hayes averaged 11.6 points, 5.4 assists. 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.2 turnovers in 24 minutes. He shot 48.2 percent from the field — 29.4 percent from 3-point range — and 87.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Hayes has been turnover-prone and is no speedster like Alabama’s Lewis.
“He doesn’t have blow-by speed but he can see the floor,” one NBA scout said. “He also can be more of a point-guard/shooting guard.”
The prior two seasons Hayes played in the French League for his hometown team, Cholet, beginning at age 16.
Scouts believe Hayes needed to bolt France for stronger competition.
“It was a season I really had to prove I can play in the NBA,” Hayes said last month on a Zoom call for draft prospects. “I was a secondary point guard in France. In Germany I really had the keys to the team. I had to call out every play.”
In France, Hayes got to know Knicks’ 2017 lottery pick Frank Ntilikina, who plays point guard, too.
“It would be dope,” Hayes said of being a Ntilikina’s teammate “He’s not really a true point guard. He can play the 1 or the 2, so I think it would be a good duo.”
“I’ve known Frank for a long time now, he’s told me a lot about the NBA and what it takes to stay in the NBA,” Hayes added.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article