The New York Knicks will reportedly work out Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes this coming week. Drafting Hayes would be a shrewd selection by the Knicks, as he’d be a nice addition to their frontline, especially on the defensive end.
The New York Knicks possess the eighth pick in the NBA Draft. With that pick, they’ll be looking to find a franchise altering player. However, they simultaneously possess two second-round picks (44 and 58). Could selecting Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes with one of those two picks make sense?
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, the Knicks will be working out Hayes this coming week. The 6-foot-8 forward could very well find his niche in the big apple if they like what they see. Hayes though, likely won’t be selected until the second round pf the draft and should be available when the Knicks select at 44.
With the eighth pick, the Knicks will likely look to add a lead guard. Names who have peaked their interest include Kentucky’s Malik Monk, NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr., and French point guard Frank Ntilikina. As a result of them setting their sights on selecting a guard with the 8th pick, the Knicks should look to add a frontline player or two with their second round picks; enter Hayes.
The four-year Badger had an up and down college career, however, still showed some promise – mostly on the defensive end.
Playing great on-ball defense and holding his own in isolation and in the post, Hayes was an established force on the defensive end for theBadgerss; Hayes also hit the boards.
Averaging 6.2 rebounds per game in his final three years there, Hayes played with a willingness to go after missed shots at Wisconsin. That willingness, paired with his overall defensive skill set would make him a beneficial addition to the Knicks’ frontline.
While they do have some nice perimeter defenders in Courtney Lee and Ron Baker, the Knicks have little to no defensive assets on their frontline; drafting Hayes would grant them such a presence. His presence and role could also grow on their frontline if they trade big man Kyle O’Quinn.
Currently being on the hunt for another first round pick, the Knicks may very well have to surrender O’Quinn to do as they wish. Losing O’Quinn would be a blow to their frontline defense, making Hayes even more of a fit. Hayes could also be a fit in blue and orange given the notion built up around his game.
Many scouts think Hayes’ ability to defend both the three and four make him a player of intrigue at the next level, especially if he can improve his jumper – a facet of his game which is a noticeable liability.
While a threat on the defensive end, Hayes isn’t adept to being a consistent force on the offensive end.
Despite averaging 15.7 points, Hayes shot just 36.8% from the field and 29.3% from beyond the arc in his junior year. In his senior year, Hayes improved his efficiency, but only a tad bit.
Despite seeing a dip in his every night scoring output (14.0), Hayes was more efficient from the field in his senior year. Shooting 45.7% from the field and 31.4% from beyond the arc, Hayes was a more reliable player on the offensive end in his senior year. However, despite finding more consistency on that end of the floor last season, Hayes will have to improve his offensive arsenal in order to be a two-way force at the NBA level. His defense though, is not up for debate.
Hayes’ defensive versatility and well-rounded skill set on that end of the floor can grant him a role on some teams’ roster. The Knicks though, should without a doubt look at snatching him in the second round when they’re on the clock. Selecting him would be a shrewd move, as he would come in and make an impact on their frontline.