Jaxson Hayes’ Lakers Grade: D
The most athletic big man on the Lakers’ roster might be Jaxson Hayes, but he has gotten little playing time this season to show it off. He was brought in to help Davis protect the rim and be a vertical lob threat on offense and he has shown flashes of that this season.
It was thought that Hayes could be a younger version of Javale McGee who paired so well with Davis during the Lakers’ title run in 2020. Davis has always been reluctant to play center, so a young big man who can help block shots and help defend guys like Jokic and new up-and-coming stars like Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren seemed to be a great addition to the squad.
However, he is still struggling to find a role and is only averaging 8.3 minutes a game presumably because Ham and the coaching are running with smaller lineups. It’s hard to analyze his performance in such a small sample size, but he probably has not shown enough in practice to earn a bigger role yet.
Perhaps the Lakers are waiting for the right matchup to give Hayes more playing time so maybe this grade is unfair. The D grade is symbolic of the defensive end where Hayes should focus on stepping up if he wants to see the court more often.