NBA Draft Bio: Killian Hayes

Road to the Draft

Killian Hayes was born in Lakeland, Florida but raised in Cholet, France and is an intriguing figure heading into the NBA Draft. Spending his school years in France, and his summers in Florida, Hayes has a uniqueness to his game, saying "I try to bring the best of America and the best from France with me when I’m on the court." He grew up playing for the Cholet Basket youth team - the same system that produced defensive wizard Rudy Gobert - and averaged 16.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg & 5.1 apg at the 2017 FIBA U17 European Championships while winning tournament MVP and leading France to a Gold medal. In 2017, at 16 years of age, Hayes made his professional debut for the Cholet senior team and played 2 years with the club, before moving on to ratiopharm Ulm of the German Bundesliga. During his only season in Germany, he averaged 11.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.4 apg and 1.4 steals in 33 games across all competitions. Check out his nice highlight package here


A left-handed, 6’5” point guard with a 6’8” wingspan, Hayes comes from a basketball playing family – his Father was a professional in Europe for close to 20 years. His size and quickness at the point guard position are assets, but perhaps his biggest strength is his basketball IQ, as he shows the ability to play quickly, but under control. He’s crafty with the ball and can create for his teammates, with his great court vision and passing skills, as well as himself. He has a smooth shot, and a nice touch inside the paint when attacking the rim. Defensively, he has good anticipation, which allows him to get his hands in passing lanes and make steals. His quick hands, good reads and wingspan make him a solid one-on-one defender. 


Areas of Improvement

While Hayes has good physical attributes, he doesn’t standout as a superior athlete, and lacks explosiveness in his game. Many observers note that the Bundesliga isn’t at the top of the European leagues when evaluating athleticism, so his skills may be overrated. As with many teenagers being drafted, he needs to bulk up his body to withstand the pounding of a full NBA season. He favors his left hand when dribbling, and needs to learn how to be ambidextrous, as he rarely uses his right hand for driving, passing or finishing. Improving his finishing touch at the rim will be an important step in his development, as he will meet far more fierce competition in the paint in the NBA. For a big guard, he will have to step up his rebounding efforts in order to lead the fast break. 

Overall Outlook

Hayes has the physical and mental tools to become an impact point guard in the NBA, and idolized Manu Ginobili and James Harden growing up (both left handers, like himself). If he can continue to develop his outside shot, gain some athleticism and learn to use his right hand there is no doubt he can be solid player for a long time. How good? It remains to be seen if he can reach heights of his favorite players like Harden and Manu, but if he can get close to those two fellow lefties he’ll be well worth a lottery pick.

Photo Credit: Nordphoto/Imago/Icon Sportswire