Jaxson Hayes: On-Ball Offense
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite.
Hayes has a steady handle for a big man, but isn't flashy. While he doesn't handle the ball very often, he has shown the ability to put the ball on the floor after a short roll, taking one dribble and using his length to attack the basket. He is smart about when to deploy this skill, usually opting to attack open space instead of facing down a defender while on the bounce. One major issue for his handle is an inability (or at the very least an unwillingness) to go left. He is very right-hand-dominant, a weakness which NBA teams will be able to key on and bring help in those limited situations where Hayes attacks the rim.
One of the knocks against Hayes's stat line is his lack of assists. While this criticism against his creation ability is valid, he has still shown a decent understanding of system passing. He can move the ball well for a big man within the designed flow of the offense and knows where his kick-outs on the play side are going to be. He hasn't shown much feel for finding shooters on the weak side, especially on the move as a roll man, a skill which would give him a deeper offensive dimension if developed. He will never be a high-post initiator, but he is at least willing to give the ball up instead of forcing a bad look.
Shooting off the dribble
A skill that is rarely utilized outside of emergency situations, Hayes has a tendency to rush through his mechanics when pulling up off the dribble. He has good body control and can shoot with a solid base, but his upper body goes into super speed as he pulls up. Shooting off the dribble will not be a priority skill to develop in the next few seasons, but finding some touch will give him a dash of much needed variety in his offensive game.
Finishing off the dribble
Hayes usually attacks the basket off the short roll, or on occasion a long offensive rebound. He has a decent finishing ability off the dribble because he is judicious in his application of the skill, usually steering clear of crowded lanes. The reason he has an average score in this category, though, is that his limited application attacking the basket further minimizes his offensive versatility. He is also still learning to absorb contact and will occasionally try to finish tough shots after absorbing a blow. He is a right-hand-dominant dribbler and will need to develop some ambidexterity.
Finishing in the post
Hayes has a limited array of finishing moves in the post. He has a drop step from the right block over his left shoulder and a lefty jump hook from the left block. He rarely goes back to the middle of the paint and relies on angles as well as his length to get the ball up and over opponents. He has been efficient around the rim, though in conference play has started to curl the ball down toward his body when he feels contact, a maneuver which leaves him susceptible to shot blockers and limits his and-one potential.