San Antonio Spurs: NBA Draft prospect Killian Hayes is studying Manu Ginobili

ULM, GERMANY - MARCH 08: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) NBA Draft prospect Killian Hayes of Ratiopharm Ulm and Khadeen Carrington of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg battle for the ball during the EasyCredit Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) match between Ratiopharm Ulm and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg at ratiopharm Arena on March 8, 2020 in Ulm, Germany. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
ULM, GERMANY - MARCH 08: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) NBA Draft prospect Killian Hayes of Ratiopharm Ulm and Khadeen Carrington of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg battle for the ball during the EasyCredit Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) match between Ratiopharm Ulm and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg at ratiopharm Arena on March 8, 2020 in Ulm, Germany. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
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Elite NBA Draft prospect Killian Hayes has been studying up on San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili to prepare for competition at the next level.

For players transitioning from the international game to the NBA in 2020, there are a lot of great players to look back on. In one of the all-time great steals in the NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs snagged Manu Ginobili with the 57th pick in 1999. Now, a rising talent in French combo guard Killian Hayes is looking at Ginobili’s path to prepare for the next stage of his professional career.

A 6-foot-5 point guard playing for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany, Hayes is one of the more polarizing prospects in his class. Many draft experts have a hard time knowing what to make from the 18-year-old lefty as his confined role didn’t let him display his full capabilities overseas. This season, Hayes averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 assists per game as one of the more dynamic playmakers and shot creators in this class.

During an interview with The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Hayes noted which players that he’s studied the most. He grew up watching lots of Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, but noted that he’s been watching Ginobili tape as of late. Not only did Ginobili revolutionize the way teams looked at international prospects, but he implemented an unorthodox play style that put on a clinic for left-handed scorers in the NBA.

Meet Killian Hayes, a top international prospect and potential 2020 NBA draft lottery pick: Adjusting to pro life in Germany away from home — father being his best friend and mentor — modeling game after Manu, Harden, D-Lo. pic.twitter.com/q3gPQyYEHJ

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 19, 2020

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Hayes highlighted two specific areas of focus as he studies Ginobili: His footwork and the way he sees the game. These are crucial aspects for a young guard to study. They showcase his maturity for a player who’s still just a teenager. Many prospects his age would be attached to Manu’s spectacular shooting or flashy eurostep, but Hayes is looking at the minute details that made Ginobili great.

A wonderful playmaker himself, Hayes has a lot of Ginobili in his game. They each have great court-vision with two-guard size, though Hayes is more of a pure point guard. Implementing better footwork at the next level is going to make Hayes a serious threat to score every time down the floor, which is amplified by the fact that his jump shot is dangerous.

Hayes is expected to go before the Spurs’ projected No. 11 pick, but it’s not impossible for San Antonio to snag the rising talent. They have a logjam at the guard position already, but the upside of Hayes’ talent might end up being too good to pass up. Having a natural scoring and playmaking threat like that opens up the floor for the rest of the team and under the guidance of head coach Gregg Popovich, the sky’s the limit.

Next. Killian Hayes is a viable option for the Spurs in 2020

If the Spurs jump into the top-four, they have to take a good, long look at Hayes as an option.

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