San Antonio Spurs: How would Killian Hayes fit in the Spurs backcourt?
By Ethan Farina
The young point guard is talented but does he fit in with the San Antonio Spurs?
As we approach the 2020 NBA Draft, more and more prospects are speaking out about which teams they’ve interviewed with and who they think they’d be a good fit for. The San Antonio Spurs have been linked to several big men in this class but there’s one guard who could make for a very interesting addition to the Spurs backcourt.
Killian Hayes is a very young and very talented guard who happens to be one of the most polarizing players in this draft class. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has him listed as his top prospect on his big board but we’ve also seen him going in the later parts of the lottery in some mock drafts.
Hayes’s talent is undeniable, he’s probably the best passer in this draft class. He doesn’t play with the same level of flash as someone as LaMelo Ball but he’s a patient and skilled operator in pick and roll and has no problem finding creative ways to get his teammates into position for easy buckets.
As a scorer, Hayes is at his best when he’s in the paint. He’s a lefty, that’s going to throw some people off, and he’s shown a soft touch and ability to absorb contact and still finish. His outside shooting numbers aren’t great but his stroke is pure and his free throw percentage adds to the belief that he will figure things out from behind the arc eventually.
Do the San Antonio Spurs really need another guard right now?
So, the talent is there. But do the San Antonio Spurs really need another point guard right now? We just went through a season in which fans were constantly irate at the lack of playing time for guys like Lonnie Walker and Keldon Johnson, is adding another point guard really the best path going forward?
There’s a reason that so much of the Spurs draft coverage has been around the wings and big men that San Antonio would be a good home for. With LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, and DeMar DeRozan all on track to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021 the Spurs are soon going to need another strong scoring option in their frontcourt.
Still, there is a way that adding Hayes could make sense for San Antonio. If the Spurs are committed to moving DeRozan if he opts in and are similarly committed to not re-signing Bryn Forbes and Marco Belinelli there could be room for Hayes in the backcourt.
In all likelihood, Hayes would spend his first season alternating between Austin and San Antonio. But when he’s ready to become a permanent fixture in the Spurs lineup the possibilities would be interesting.
We saw the Spurs go small in the bubble. They were starting DeMar DeRozan at power forward and often had four guards on the floor at a time. Could this be the kind of lineup that they’d use in the future?
A backcourt rotation that involves Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Walker, and Hayes could be incredibly dangerous. Balance that out with Keldon Johnson on the wing and Luka Samanic and Jakob Poeltl down low and you have the makings of a team that would be able to play at one of the fastest paces in the NBA.
There are undoubtedly players who would fit the Spurs immediate needs better than Killian Hayes, but if he’s on the board when it’s San Antonio’s turn to pick they’ve got to take him. He’s far too talented of a player to pass on.