The Pelicans are in a tough spot with Jaxson Hayes

Daniel Gafford #21 of the Washington Wizards and Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Daniel Gafford #21 of the Washington Wizards and Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Jaxson Hayes experiment is not going as planned for the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 21-year-old is in year three and after a strong finish to last season, many expected him to have a breakout year and seize the backup big man role for the Pels.

After a rocky offseason that saw Hayes in the tabloids, he has gotten off to a terrible start, with career lows in just about everything.

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He’s already been benched once this season and after another string of lackluster performances, it might happen again.

Coach Willie Green is in a tough spot, as he doesn’t want to crush the young man’s confidence by benching him in favor of journeyman Willie Hernangomez, but he also wants to make the young center earn his minutes and so far, he hasn’t.

This puts the Pelicans in a bad spot, as they are still trying to cling onto some hope for this season once Zion Williamson returns and right now, Hayes is not helping.

So what should the Pelicans do with Jaxson Hayes?

The Pelicans could give Hayes more minutes

One argument is that this season is probably over anyway, the Pelicans aren’t winning, so now is the perfect time to get Hayes some extended minutes.

Perhaps playing him 20-25 minutes a night between both big man spots will help build his confidence and get his shot going. Right now he shooting a career-low 49 percent from the field, which is not great for a guy who mostly just dunks.

Coach Green could just let Hayes continue to play through this struggles and who knows, maybe he’ll figure it out.

Would the Pelicans consider trading Jaxson Hayes?

Maybe extended minutes or another benching would kickstart Hayes’ season, who knows, but I can say I’ve seen no evidence of it so far.

He is still very young, but you’d hope to see some sign of development in certain areas, but Hayes is making the same mistakes he did as a rookie and it’s arguable that he’s been even worse in some areas.

His defensive rotations are still slow, he still can’t set much of a screen or really do anything on offense other than dunk. For all of the talk of Hayes shooting more from long range, we’ve not seen it yet this season.

We’re not there yet, but it might be time for the Pelicans to start considering their options and to move on from Hayes altogether.  The problem is that his value is at an all-time low, so I can’t imagine the return would be worth it given his potential and the fact that the Pelicans used a #8 pick on him.

They could probably get a guy like Josh Jackson from the Pistons, who are struggling for centers right now, but he’s hardly going to make much of a difference. Jackson is still just 24 and has some value on defense but given the Pelicans’ record they can afford to hang on to Hayes and hope for the best, but at some point he becomes a sunk cost.

The Pelicans are in a tough spot with a guy who is not earning minutes but has little trade value. Patience is going to be key here, but at some point you have to admit that potential is just potential until it turns into results and that has not happened for Hayes.

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