Lakers cut: Jaxson Hayes
Jaxson Hayes has become one of the most overhyped players on the Lakers roster this offseason and it is easy to see why. Hayes is a recent top-10 pick who has showcased potential. Even with his untapped potential, Hayes has displayed great athleticism and his length near the rim can be a real threat.
All that being said, this ignores the fact that Hayes has been pretty bad in his NBA career thus far. Yes, he is young and the Lakers could unlock something in him. It would not be the first time the Lake Show did this. But players with Hayes’ skill set simply don’t succeed much in the NBA. There is no longer the need for the traditional seven-footer who doesn’t add much of an offensive game.
The Pelicans’ net rating when Hayes was on the court last season was 8.7 points worse. To put that in comparison, the top-rated Boston Celtics had a net rating of +6.5 last season. The 23rd-ranked Washington Wizards had a net rating of -1.2. The difference between Hayes being on the court and off the court was larger than the difference between the Celtics and Wizards. Not great!
Hayes is going to get playing time early on in the season as he should. The Lakers need to give him a chance to carve out a spot in the rotation. At the very least, he will take some of the workload off of Anthony Davis’ plate.
However, as the year goes along, it will become obvious that the best-case scenario is playing Wood and Davis at the five with some smaller options off the bench sprinkled in to keep Davis fresh as the year goes along.
Like the young centers last season, don’t be shocked if Hayes doesn’t make it past the trade deadline and is flipped for a second-round pick or two. If he does make it past the deadline, don’t expect him to be anything more than a garbage-time player in the rotation.