New Orleans Pelicans: Is there a new role coming for Jaxson Hayes?

Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts with teammates Jaxson Hayes #10 and Garrett Temple #41 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts with teammates Jaxson Hayes #10 and Garrett Temple #41 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

It’s been a bad season for Jaxson Hayes of the New Orleans Pelicans by any measure.

He’s largely been relegated to the bench, and most recently, the G-League, as he tries to figure out how he is going to contribute in the NBA.

Considering the Pelicans traded a top-5 pick for him, it’s important that he eventually make an impact and right now that isn’t really happening.

We’ve all seen Jaxson Hayes’ immense talent on display at times, as he is Uber-athletic and can wow you with highlight reel dunks and blocked shots.

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But games aren’t won by highlight reels (or instagram posts, hint hint Jax), they are won by consistent play and Hayes hasn’t provided it.

He still struggles to make the right reads defensively, hasn’t developed an offensive game and still has stretches where he looks lost, which is disappointing in year three.

But the last win over the Cleveland Cavaliers showed how Jaxson Hayes might contribute in the future.

Should Jaxson Hayes play power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans?

In the comeback win over Cleveland, coach Willie Green was forced to use Jaxson Hayes with so many players out and he got a lot of of his minutes at the four, something he says we will see more of in the future:

Hayes put the ball on the floor and drove to the rim a few times and in general looked more comfortable on the perimeter.

He has the athleticism to blow by guys and once he’s in the lane we know he can finish, so using him as more of a perimeter threat may work, especially against big teams like Cleveland.

I also think Hayes would benefit from not having to defend centers, as he is better off the ball and more effective coming in as a help defender on a big than trying to guard him one-on-one.

While it worked against Cleveland, this strategy might not have legs against a more traditional team, as Hayes has still not shown that he can shoot well enough to play on the perimeter full time, especially once Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are back.

But I do think he can be effective there at times, especially if he can develop a long-range jumper, as he can beat most power forwards off the dribble if they have to play him close behind the arc and would be an effective pick and roll partner.

It was nice to see Jaxson Hayes contribute at all really, and I hope he can continue to build on it, as he can be an x-factor off the Pelicans’ bench, which is something they really need.

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