Warriors Draft Pick Tourney, Round 2: #3 Killian Hayes vs #6 Onyeka Okongwu
Round Two. Up to you.
Okay, welcome to the second round of the Warriors 2020 Draft Pick Tournament! Now we’re dealing with some much harder decisions. I have added a few more scouting reports and comparisons since the first round.
Which of These Two Prospects Would You Rather The Warriors Draft?
We’ll present scouting reports, and you can vote at the end of this post. For details on how these prospects were selected and seeded, see the master tournament post.
3. Killian Hayes
NBADraftRoom Comp: taller Jay Williams
(Graphic from The Ringer)
Hayes is an American-born lead guard who was raised in France who spent this season playing professionally in Germany. The 18 year-old shared Most Valuable Player honors in the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic international game and was averaging 12.0 points and 5.6 assists for a German team before the season was suspended.
Hayes’ tenacity, natural playmaking skills, craft off the dribble and an improving jump shot continue to help him compensate for average athleticism. He continues to develop well ahead of his age curve, and the question is probably more about where his ceiling lies.
An unknown quantity for most American fans, Hayes is a French lefty who isn’t a knock-down shooter (29.4 percent from 3) but has an extremely high skill level in terms of being able to execute complex moves like step-backs, side steps and pull-ups out of pick-and-rolls.
Read several of those lines above and it sounds very reminiscent of D’Angelo Russell, but Hayes offers more on the defensive end. Although he’s not a super athlete, Hayes has decent lateral quickness and great anticipation, and has posted high rates of steals and blocks in a competitive league.
Playmaking is his best skill. Creative pick-and-roll facilitator. Fluid ball handler with the size to outmuscle smaller guards. Excellent touch with his left hand finishing difficult floaters and runners. Displays major potential as an off-the-dribble 3-point shooter with Hardenesque moves. His catch-and-shoot shooting numbers are concerning, but he has smooth form. A projectably versatile defender against guards and wings. Active off-ball menace.
Left-hand dominant: He might as well tie his right hand behind his back. Limited athlete who lacks burst and bounce. Lacks an advanced handle. Experiences lapses on defense. He needs to be more vocal as a lead guard to take better command of the team.
SHADES OF: D’Angelo Russell, Manu Ginobili
Developing tool in his arsenal: a James Harden-like stepback move that's near-impossible to defend
Below average 3-point shooter; improved in EuroCup play, but larger sample suggests it could be a swing skill
Hayes is a flat-out terrific passer out of ball-screens, and the coaches at Ulm this past season knew as much. To put this into perspective, Hayes played 33 games for Ulm this past season and, according to Synergy’s video logs, ended a possession by using a ball-screen 428 times. That’s an average of 13 ball-screens per game. He played 25 minutes per game. Do the math, and Hayes played out of a ball-screen once every two minutes for the course of an entire season, and that only counts the possessions where those actions resulted in a shot or a turnover.
What I do know is this: Hayes is a real talent and nobody else I’ve watched has impressed me as much per this upcoming draft. In a past recap, I wrote that I probably wouldn’t advise the Warriors, or anyone else really, to draft LaMelo Ball top 5. With the obvious caveat that these are mere guesses — educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless — I’m saying the opposite about Killian Hayes. In a theoretically weak draft, the skinny French kid could be a really strong choice.
And Ethan Strauss, “Talking with Killian Hayes’ trainer”:
On if playing off the ball, as the Warriors would require:
This past summer we worked on playing off-ball a little bit. His whole game plan for this summer will be to look at who’s going to be that top 10, top five and adjust his workout for what teams will be looking for. He will be more than prepared. Off-the-ball is a part of player development. The main thing we want to focus on is his shooting and trying to get his shot off 1-on-1 because it’s a 1-on-1 game in the NBA.
On if the Warriors draft him:
Him playing with Steph would be amazing.
6. Onyeka Okongwu
Wizzy’s Comps: (per 40 similarity > 70) Stromile Swift, Anthony Davis, Isaiah Stewart, Rasheed Wallace, Derrick Favors, Bam Adebayo, Darrell Arthur, Brandan Wright, Chris Taft
Wizzy’s Comps: (advanced similarity > 70) Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, John Collins, Isaiah Stewart, Richaun Holmes
NBADraftRoom Comp: Bam, Tristan Thompson+
(Graphic from Sports-Reference.com)
Okongwu mostly operated off of the national radar this season because he played for an unranked team on the West Coast. But he was fantastic — averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 61.6% from the field. He's the main reason USC won 16 of its first 20 games and would've been in the NCAA Tournament.
Okongwu has been a divisive name in league circles, but his value at this point is pretty firmly entrenched somewhere between here [#9] and the mid first-round. Some struggle to see the upside while others place a high premium on his floor. Okongwu is a highly impactful player within seven feet of the rim, runs the floor well, and will be able to hang defensively and anchor smaller lineups without needing his number called.
Okongwu was awesome as a freshman and the only reason I don’t have him higher is that today’s game doesn’t value bigs as much. He still might be undervalued here [#4]. Relative to his position he’s arguably the best player in this draft, and in particular would seem to be an outstanding fit with the Golden State Warriors.
Since 2011-12, five major conference NCAA freshman have had a PER north of 30 and shot better than 70 percent from the line, an important indicator that they had enough skill to be something besides a ‘90s beast-ball 5 in the pros.
The first four were Anthony Davis, Cody Zeller, Karl-Anthony Towns and Deandre Ayton. Three of them were the first pick in the draft and the other one was picked [fourth] and has had a very solid pro career.
Okongwu is the fifth.
SHADES OF: Bam Adebayo, young Antonio McDyess, Taj Gibson
Excellent finisher with soft hands that catch tough passes, a pillowy touch around the rim, and the quick-leaping ability to score with power.
Good post scorer. Handles the ball like a wing. He makes slick passes, loves to throw outlets, and passes well out of the post. Does the little things: He hustles, screens well, rebounds all over the floor, and makes clutch plays.
Excellent pick-and-roll defender. He’s mobile and versatile, able to drop, switch, or hedge.
Inconsistent shooting mechanics from the field and the line. He’s slightly undersized for a center at 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. He also needs to get significantly stronger to contain elite post-up bigs like Joel Embiid.
PRO COMPARISON: Bam Adebayo
He’s athletic enough that being a switchable five seems like his floor. Worst-case scenario, Okongwu turns into an off-the-bench big that provides energy, rebounding and defense. If the jumper — and, especially, the passing — comes along, he can be much more than that.
Ethan Strauss and Evan Zamir, The Athletic:
Evan: Okongwu has been so dominant this year (at or near the top of my freshman stats rankings all season) and that was without the benefit of playing with a high-end point guard or much spacing around him. I just feel like he’s going to be a super solid center on both ends with some shooting potential. (He has great touch around the rim and on his hooks and shot 72 percent at the line.)
He’s also a confusing mix of qualities. The more I look, the trickier Okongwu is to completely figure out. Is he a throwback post-up center? Or is he a rim runner who guards positions 1 through 5? Is he a future 3-point threat, as his form and free-throw percentage might indicate?
In talks I’ve had with bored, quarantined NBA coaches who’ve done the scouting, questions of conditioning are raised. In their view, Okongwu tends to go all out until he burns out, like a marathoner who starts a race sprinting.
All in all, I just don’t think Okongwu’s productivity can be dismissed as something that’s only possible within the college game. Yes, he’s a post-up killer in a world that increasingly doesn’t need post-ups, but he gets his baskets quickly enough to keep a 24-second shot clock at bay. Also, he runs a beautiful pick-and-roll and shows promise as a shooter. Teams will rank him lower than James Wiseman because Wiseman has an obvious role as a center with archetypal size. Okongwu is something different, something a bit harder to project, but I’m buying the possibility.
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