New Orleans Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes’ Case for More Minutes


It’s time for the New Orleans Pelicans to unleash Jaxson Hayes.

After the New Orleans Pelicans‘ heartbreaking 106-104 loss to the Utah Jazz, there is a lot to digest as the team looks towards the Los Angeles Clippers.

One of the biggest conversations is around the lack of effort we saw from center Derrick Favors and the spark we saw from rookie Jaxson Hayes.

The team’s interior defense was a low point of the night and Rudy Gobert of the Jazz took advantage, especially with Favors on the floor.

Favors’ poor showing illustrates why the Pelicans should take a page from the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Bubble: Compete your butt off but also use the time to develop your young players.

New Orleans Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes can learn on the fly.

While Zion Williamson’s minutes’ restriction was disappointing to say the least, we should look at the positive for the other Pelicans’ rookie who saw action. Jaxson Hayes, the number eight pick from the 2019 NBA draft,  had 20 minutes on the court and brought life to the interior defense and to the offensive backboards.

He ended with five offensive rebounds, two defensive rebounds and a presence that was felt, which led to a decent plus/minus of +7, 3rd highest on the team. Favors did have two offensive rebounds, six defensive rebounds, and three steals, and his impact was felt to the tune of a plus/minus of -9 in 28 minutes played.

While plus/minus and PER aren’t the end all be all stats, the ‘Eye Test’ showed a lot to be desired from the veteran center. Generally, with the playoffs on the line and unrestricted free agency coming soon, you’d want to see Favors put out more effort.

The ‘Eye Test’ showed a young rookie looking to do his best with the time given to him, something the New Orleans Pelicans need to lean into, as Hayes was more active defensively, was setting better picks and kept several possessions alive after missed shots.

Jaxson Hayes is a young man with a lot of upside and a longer future with New Orleans than Derrick Favors. We all know the offense will run through Jrue, B.I, and Zion, but Hayes’ length and defense give him the chance to step into the starting five very soon, especially if Favors continues to struggle.

This will help grow his abilities and confidence. You learn by actually playing games and meaningful minutes. If the coaching staff will stop being passive with their young players and give them time together, something very magical can happen at Disney for the New Orleans Pelicans.