Detroit Pistons believe ‘progress is coming’ for Killian Hayes, but he must stay healthy

LOS ANGELES – Killian Hayes’ sprained left thumb hurt visibly. He winced in pain when his left hand touched a defender. It seemed to affect his game.

After spending 18 minutes during a Detroit Loss of piston to Golden State Warriors on November 19th, the organization and their young point guard had to make a decision.

Hayes missed four games in a row as the Pistons decided to give him rest to give his thumb a chance to heal. This decision seems to be paying off.

Hayes returned to the starting XI on Sunday The angel Lakers and was one of Detroit’s better players. His thumb may not heal completely until he can rest it for extended periods of time during the off-season. At the moment the pain has been relieved enough that he can play again.

“It feels good,” said Hayes after the 110-106 defeat on Sunday at the Staples Center. “It hit me over and over for a few games. It got worse and worse. We decided it was better to just get the pain out and come back without pain. It felt good tonight.”

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Hayes has grown into one of Detroit’s most eclectic roleplayers this season, and Sunday was a reminder of what it has to offer. He finished the race with six points and eight assists in 29 minutes and was a major reason the Pistons were able to reduce a gap of 17 points to three with two seconds to go in the fourth quarter.

He and Cade Cunningham checked in with 7:56 remaining when Frank Jackson hit three free throws to reduce the gap to 14. Hayes provided five assists in the final third and supported seven of Detroit’s last nine points. One night the Pistons did 17 rallies, Hayes was responsible for one.

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Piston guard Killian Hayes hits the basket against Lakers Center DeAndre Jordan in the first half on Sunday, November 28, 2021 in Los Angeles.

The Pistons offense has tended to stagnate this season. Though Hayes doesn’t give his own number, his field of view and ball handling can generate shots for teammates. The Pistons delivered 29 assists on Sunday – their second highest total of the season – and shot 39.4% of 3 – their best outside clip since beating the Toronto Raptors on November 13th. Hayes’ positive effect on the team was evident, especially after a week of cold offensive performances.

“Coach really talks about energy,” said Hayes. “First of all, we have to put up energy every night to give ourselves a chance. If we bring energy and take shots, we’re a tough team to beat. We’ve been struggling a little lately, but it’s been a long season,” Man. We have to keep shooting and shots will be fired. “

His style of play aside, Hayes has been one of Detroit’s top perimeter defenders and shooters this season. He’s adept at moving his feet and using his hands to force sales (2.1 steals per 36 minutes) and he does 36.8% of his 3-pointers (14-for-38) in 15 games.

Sunday was his 41st NBA game or half a regular season. Injuries made it difficult for him to play consistently. Last season he suffered a torn labrum in his hip, which meant he had to miss nearly two-thirds of his rookie campaign. A sprained ankle caused him to miss preseason and part of training camp, and he missed five regular season games – a quarter of the previous schedule.

At his best moments this season, Hayes has shown an all-round game that has allowed him to be difficult to replace despite averaging 5.7 points per game for the Pistons.

Back on the line-up, the Pistons hope he can pick up where he left off.

“His growth is coming,” said Pistons manager Dwane Casey. “Unfortunately he was injured and the same thing happened to him last year. He started and found his way. But then he had the sport break thing. This year was his thumb. It was good for him to undress it. He’s feeling a lot better now. We’ll see if he can do it again. He played pretty well, especially defensively. He’s one of our better defenders on the ball and that’s an area where his growth has skyrocketed is. “

Contact Omari Sankofa II at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has launched a new digital subscription model. This gives you access to our most exclusive flask content. Read more about the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons Believe “Growth Is Coming” for Killian Hayes

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