His statistics were virtually identical in minutes, points, rebounds and blocked shots per game, but there was one area in which Hayes improvement was noticeable: his 3-point shooting.
Hayes hasn’t shot many in his career so far but he did improve from 25 percent in his rookie season to 42.9 percent this year.
Again, Hayes didn’t shoot enough volume to really get a sense of whether he can eventually be a “stretch” five, but there are some factors working in his favor.
I think we will see Hayes’ shooting a lot more 3-pointers next season, here’s why.
The New Orleans Pelicans need Jaxson Hayes to shoot
The Pelicans have Steven Adams starting at center and Adams doesn’t usually shoot outside of a few feet from the rim. After trading Nicolo Melli to the Mavericks along with J.J. Redick, the Pelicans are left without a big man who can spread the floor.
They might end up finding such a player in the draft, a trade or free agency, but they might already have him on the roster.
Jaxson Hayes didn’t hesitate to shoot them when he had the chance and based on some of his other numbers, he could eventually evolve into a guy who can take 3-4 a game.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes can shoot
If you watched Hayes shoot from long range this season, then you probably noticed he has a pretty good stroke for a big man.
He doesn’t have any glaring flaws in his form, has a good release and his height makes it almost impossible to block.
Hayes is also a pretty good free-throw shooter, knocking down 77.5 percent from the line and at times looking like the best free-throw shooter on the team.
Free-throw shooting is often a good indicator of whether a big man can extend his range to the 3-point line, so there is every reason to believe that Jaxson Hayes can knock them down with more practice and opportunity.
Hayes somewhat saved his season after being benched and showed that he is ready to add more nuance to his game.
The New Orleans Pelicans don’t need Jaxson Hayes to become a volume 3-point shooter and he will always do the most damage on put backs and lobs, but if he can extend his range, it will add a new element to the Pels’ offense and raise the ceiling of what he can be as a player.