New Orleans Pelicans: Give Jaxson Hayes credit, he stayed ready

Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

He’s not seen any significant minutes the past five games, but when asked to step up for the New Orleans Pelicans, Jaxson Hayes did so in a big way on Wednesday night.

It wasn’t enough to overcome the horrendous 2nd and 3rd quarter showing by the team but Hayes not only inspired his teammates to make a huge comeback and have a chance to win the game, he also inspired a very frustrated fanbase, including local media members.

I’ve made it no secret that Hayes is one of my favorite players on this team. From the time he stepped foot in New Orleans after he was drafted in the 1st round as the Pelicans 2nd pick in 2019, he’s exuded nothing but joy and just appears to be a big kid having fun in everything he’s doing.

He’s not been his best, and Willy Hernangomez has obviously surpassed him in the lineup as the immediate backup to starter Stephen Adams.

Through his disappointment, which has been evident on his Instagram posts, he clearly has been practicing and staying ready for whenever his number was called.

New Orleans Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes stayed ready

On Wednesday, his number was called late in the game.

Hayes entered the game as the 4th Quarter began and the Pels were down 96-79. He played 11:06 minutes, scoring 10 points on perfect FG shooting with three blocks. However, are we sure it was just three?

Coach Stan Van Gundy had high praise for the 2nd year tall man out of Texas who was clearly a game changer against the Bulls.

Hayes’ energy on the court was apparent and he had several highlight worthy moments.

The media and fanbase have been hard on Hayes at times, with good reason. He’s made mistakes in key moments of games and he hasn’t progressed on the court in ways we all had hoped.

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But, in my opinion, he is doing the most important thing a player can do in team sports: staying ready when his number is called. For him to go in and change the energy of a dismal game for the team plus put them in a position to win is confidence that will carry him and his teammates into the All Star break. Who knows, that may lead to the wins we are expecting and a few we aren’t.

This team is frustrating, no doubt, and Wednesday’s loss was just the tip of the iceberg after a huge win against  arguably the NBA’s best team two nights before. I won’t dwell on that since we have articles to highlight the inconsistent nature of the Pels.

This is a Jaxson Hayes appreciation post. I hope to have more as he continues to work behind the scenes and give himself a chance to provide the amazing highlights he seems to give us every time he’s on the court and give the team even more chances to win.

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