With a rebuild in full swing, the Washington Wizards can afford to take some risks and swing for the fences over the next few seasons. Often, when teams are in this situation, they like to take project players, former lottery picks who are not yet out, and other moves similar to this.
That’s how teams like the Milwaukee Bucks went from being one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league for most of the 2000s to having their current roster, the foundations of which were put together 10 years ago. Like the Bucks, the Wizards have been anything but competent over the last 10 years, rushing draft picks and making short-term trades on a regular basis.
This is why trading former seventh pick Killian Hayes makes more than just a little bit of sense.
The Washington Wizards should consider trading Killian Hayes
While his scoring has plenty of room to grow, this may be something of an understatement, his defense and playmaking are among the best in the league. These are the biggest aspects of his game that have kept him as a rotating piece for the Detroit Pistons this season, aside from the serious injury bug they caught.
In his first three seasons in the league, Killian Hayes has averaged 8.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.4 blocks per game. While these don’t stand out like many would expect from a lottery pick, they are incredibly comparable to a young legendary point guard.
Ignoring the winning stats for obvious reasons, Rajon Rondo had nearly the same stats as Hayes, just with a slight increase in almost every stat in his first three years. However, much of that increase can be attributed to the three hall of fame players he shared the floor with.
In comparison, Rondo averaged 9.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.1 blocks per game. Even his efficiency was only slightly better than Hayes’, but he also took nearly three fewer three-point attempts per game. fight with equal effectiveness.
The one big aspect of the game that separates the two is the potential to be a decent shooter. Rondo hit just 63.5% of his free throws over three seasons, while Hayes hit 80.3%. This is usually an aspect of the game that shows a player can develop a quality jump shot.
We even know he can become an average shooter because he’s added a pull-up jumper to his game. He hit 40% from the traditional mid-range (10-15 feet from the rim), while taking nearly a quarter of his shot attempts from there.
His production could increase significantly next to legitimate scoring options like Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma. We already saw his efficiency increase a bit in the half-season he shared with Cade Cunningham, a player who isn’t quite the scorer that Poole is.
How would a trade for Killian Hayes look for the Washington Wizards
The biggest issue facing the Wizards in a potential trade for the former seventh overall pick is the fact that the Pistons are looking to make a playoff push and need a forward. This likely means that unless the Wiz are willing to move on from Kyle Kuzma or Corey Kispert, they will need to add a third team.
This made the most sense to me:
Marvin Bagley III
2024 second round election (via MEM of WAS)
In this trade idea, the Wizards receive two players who are under the age of 25 and have shown legitimate promise with the Pistons. They also receive a pick swap that will likely end up receiving their own pick in return.
Even better, both players are expected to end up in DC with this trade fitting the current roster perfectly. Of course, the biggest intrigue in the business is Killian Hayes, who still has the potential to be a good to great two-way point guard in the NBA. He would certainly strengthen their already sneaky good defense for next season.
The Pistons fill out their small and powerful forward rotation by adding combo forward Robert Covington, a more than capable three-point shooter and borderline elite defender. while giving up two players who likely aren’t in their long-term plans.
however, the biggest issue in the potential trade is the Los Angeles Clippers. The only way they ever decide to make this move is if all trade talks for James Harden fall apart. If that happens, this appears to be the next best option to clear out their logjam at the forward positions and eventually add another facilitator.
While this trade proposal and target may seem preposterous at first, especially considering that much of NBA Twitter considers Killian Hayes to be the worst player in the NBA, it’s absolutely worth the risk at this stage of the rebuild. His strengths complement Jordan Poole’s weaknesses and vice versa, they can make for a deadly backcourt combination. Why wouldn’t the Washington Wizards roll the dice on a 21-year-old lottery pick?