NBA Draft 2017 Prospect Watch: Nigel Hayes

Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports /


Shooting, Shooting, Shooting. Nigel Hayes projects to the NBA as a power forward and in today’s game that means he must be able to knock down perimeter shots on a consistent basis.

During Hayes junior and senior year at Wisconsin, when Hayes took on the lion’s share of the offense, he struggled to shoot the ball from three-point land. Shooting 29.3 and 31.4 percent from three-point range respectively doesn’t exactly fall in line with the shooting and floor-spacing we see in the NBA today.

After first round picks Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker left for the NBA, Hayes was asked to do more offensively. His shooting suffered, and his field goal percentage sunk to an all-time low at 36.8 percent as the open shots Dekker and Kaminsky created were no longer available.

Inconsistent shooting has plagued Hayes through most of his college career, something which is even evident from his free throw percentages from year to year:

  • 58.5 percent~Freshman
  • 74.4 percent~Sophomore
  • 73.6 percent~Junior
  • 58.7 percent~Senior

Hayes is listed as 6″7″, a height generally in line with NBA small forwards, but his skill-set projects him to be more of a power forward in the NBA.

This brings questions to his place on the floor. Will Hayes be able to guard the speed of a small forward and size of an NBA power power forward? This will be a major concern for NBA teams, although others have certainly overcome those issues before.

For example, similar questions were asked about Draymond Green out of college and things have turned out quite well for him so far.

If Hayes does not shoot the ball well and defensively is a step slow on a small forward and an inch small on a power forward, it will be hard to find an NBA executive eager to select Hayes.