When the New Orleans Pelicans drafted Jaxson Hayes with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, he was seen as a raw prospect. A tall but lanky center who could block shots and use his athleticism for some highlight plays. The rebounding and offense would need to be molded though.
In his first Summer League action on Monday, Hayes proved that he’s definitely got all the potential people expected – and more.
Okay, this was a Summer League game, I understand that. Personally, I’m of the belief that you shouldn’t put too much stock into it. Every year there are standout players that fall flat in the regular season and players that look miserable but then succeed when the games truly count.
Now, with that being said – it’s also hard to ignore what Jaxson Hayes did on Monday. The 19-year-old scored 28 points on 10-15 shooting. He added four rebounds and three blocks to that total as well, with two of those blocks being absolutely devastating chase downs.
Eight of those 10 shots that Hayes made were dunks – showing off his athleticism. One of those was an absolutely devastating dunk that has already been dubbed by quite a few people online as possibly the greatest Summer League dunk of all-time.
WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM TO BRING YOU AN ABSOLUTE HAMMER BY JAXSON HAYES pic.twitter.com/NFJsryE7N6
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 9, 2019
I mean that should be illegal in every Country.
Hayes showed that his athleticism should translate nicely. He also showed off his court awareness, finding his way to the basketball for easy entrance passes and oops as he dunked his way past the Chicago Bulls.
What was scary was that Jaxson Hayes wasn’t the only rookie to show out for the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker gave indications that he could be a major steal in the draft and Marcos Louzada Silva showed his shot will translate nicely.
That’s what makes the performance by Jaxson Hayes so impressive though. The Pelicans had a number of standout performances – and he’s the one most people are talking about.
Hayes should get some playing time in his first year with New Orleans, but won’t have to worry about getting too heavy of a weight put on him. With the Pelicans acquiring Derrick Favors, they have a center that can start and eat up some solid minutes. He can also mentor Hayes and teach him how to be a towering presence in the paint.
Meanwhile, it’s Zion Williamson that’s going to be taking all the headlines – which will keep a lot of pressure of Hayes. All of this is adding up to be the perfect storm in helping the young center develop.
The New Orleans Pelicans really might have hit a home run with the pick of Jaxson Hayes. He showed the world on Monday that he’s going to be fun to watch. The potential is there and the Pelicans are ready to mold it.
In the words of his rookie teammate Zion Williamson – let’s dance.