The New Orleans Pelicans blew out the Houston Rockets behind a huge game from Jonas Valanciunas and the role players, but all of the talk today is about Jaxson Hayes’ dunk.
Hayes has had an up and down season, but has worked his way into the starting lineup after trades and injuries forced Willie Green to make some changes.
He’s been solid in that role, though he still has the tendency to disappear at times on defense and hasn’t quite found a role for himself on offense yet.
But I think he could be the X-Factor for the Pelicans this season, as his size and athleticism create mismatches, especially when he is active on defense and getting out in transition, as he was against the Rockets.
His energy was a big part of the win and he nearly blew the roof off the Smoothie King Center with a dunk that has to be in the running for dunk of the year in the NBA.
Jaxson Hayes’ dunk one for the Pelicans’ highlight reel
Jaxson Hayes’ dunk last night was not only the most impressive of the season for the Pelicans, but has to be in the running for dunk of the year league-wide.
Jaxson saw nothing but open space in front of him and threw down a between-the-legs dunk that you rarely even see attempted in a real game.
This looks more like something from the Slam Dunk Contest, which Jaxson Hayes should absolutely be in next season.
Hayes can be frustrating at times, but when you see plays like this you can see why the Pelicans are going to be patient with his development, as he does things that most seven footers cannot.
Dunks like this still only count for two points, but when you see the reaction of his teammates and the crowd, you can see the real value his electrifying athleticism. Let’s hope this game will get him going a little more, as the Pelicans will need more of the same against the Suns on Tuesday.