Should the Atlanta Hawks pursue this former top-10 pick in free agency?

The Atlanta Hawks struggle during their non-Trae Young minutes. Could Killian Hayes be the answer?

Jan 24, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) dribbles in the first
Jan 24, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) dribbles in the first / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Hawks (23-29) have again had a period when they could have made a trade and instead of being bold, they did nothing. This means that the roster that has them in tenth in the Eastern Conference at the time of writing has to try and turn their season around. That is going to be a tall ask given that they are below .500 and the grind does not get any easier from here.

Still, the Hawks have to use the back end of the season to start preparing for next season. To do this, they may look to move on from veteran guard Patty Mills and sign a player in the buyout market. With Onyeka Okongwu showing why he was such a high draft pick, the Hawks may look to sign another guard to bolster their stocks of smaller men.

With players like veteran Victor Oladipo becoming available there would be the potential to sign him. However, he has not played all season and has such a chequered injury past that the risk is too great. The Detroit Pistons recently waived former lottery pick, Killian Hayes who seems to fit the Hawks timeline, but does he fit their needs?

Should the Atlanta Hawks pursue Killian Hayes?

At the age of 22, Killian Hayes is at the right age for the Hawks' timeline. He is in his fourth season, which would help the Hawks long-term with a level of consistency. However, that is where the positives stop for Hayes when it comes to what he can bring to the Hawks.

The Pistons took Hayes with the seventh pick of the 2020 NBA draft, and they have given him every opportunity to develop. He has started in 145 of the 210 games that he has played, averaging 8.1 points, 5.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in 26.1 minutes per game. Some might say these are solid numbers but when you look into his efficiency, you can see that there is a problem.

To put it simply, Hayes is not a good shooter. He is shooting a career-best 41.3 percent from the floor this season. That is the best has has shot over four seasons in the league. When you look at his 3-point numbers, the story is worse. Again he is shooting a career-best this season, and it is not even 30 percent. He has one at 29.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Then, when you look at his playmaking, 5.2 assists per game looks decent for a career number. However, he is also averaging 2.0 turnovers per game. These numbers are not far enough apart to conversation with the front office, especially when you combine them with his poor shooting.

Unfortunately for Hayes, unless he can sign on for a minimum deal, it would seem that his time in the league is done. He did not do much for the Pistons and he would most probably not help the Hawks in any meaningful way, be it now or in the future. It is this scribe's opinion that the Hawks need to be looking for a big man in the buyout market, not an inefficient guard.

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