Film Don’t Lie: Evaluating Every Killian Hayes 3-Point Shot

Detroit Bad Boys

Killian Hayes has taken a step forward this season with his overall offensive production. Whether that is to a satisfactory level is still a debate but the improvement is undeniable.

In a small uptick of minutes per game, Hayes has improved his points per game and assists per game while keeping his turnovers at just two.

If we eliminate the first 11 games of the season, where Hayes unquestionably got off to a cold start, the improvement really shows itself. Even after a couple of rough outings in his last two, 6-of-27 from the field and 1-of-11 from the 3-point line, Hayes is averaging over 12 points and 6.6 assists per game on 42% from the field, 34% from the 3-point line and 83% from the free-throw line in the 34 games since.

While 34 games is far from a full season, those numbers would be far and away better than what he put together last season in his 66 games played. They too would be better than his rookie year in which he played just 26 games.

Perhaps the biggest improvement, whether including the first 11 games or not, for Hayes has been with his 3-point shooting. The former No. 7 overall pick is not only shooting a better percentage than his first two seasons but also doing it on increased volume.

Similar to the Saddiq Bey 3-point shooting breakdown a few weeks ago, we will see if there are shot types, footwork, shot locations or play types where Hayes is standing out in a positive or negative way this season. So, the film went on to watch every single 3-point attempt this season from the 6-foot-5 guard and this is how it broke down.

Shot Type

Type FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Type FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Catch and Shoot 113 40 35% 69% 75%
Off Screens/Hand Off 3 1 33% 2% 2%
Rhythm Dribble 23 4 17% 14% 8%
Side/Step Back 25 8 32% 15% 15%
164 53 32% 100% 100%

SHOT TYPE

It was somewhat surprising how large of percentage Hayes 3-point attempts were of the catch-and-shoot variety, 69% of his attempts and 75% of his makes. One area that stood out in this regard was Hayes off-ball relocation along the 3-point line.

There is no question that Hayes is best with the basketball in his hands and needs plenty of those possessions but he also has to be able to play next to other on ball creators. This is true whether he is on the Detroit Pistons or if he was ever moved to another team. While you may want better than 35% on catch-and-shoot attempts, he was actually better on true drive-and-kick attempts which we will discuss later.

The overall off the dribble attempts were actually lower than expected but it is somewhat surprising how low the percentage was when Hayes was taking a forward or rhythm dribble into his shot. He actually is shooting better this year when he takes a side, or back step, dribble whether in true isolation or operating out of a ball screen.

Footwork

Type FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Type FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Jump Stop 14 3 21% 9% 6%
Left-Right 12 2 17% 7% 4%
Right-Left 138 48 35% 84% 91%
164 53 32% 100% 100%

FOOTWORK

We know that Hayes has spent some time working on his shot and therefore there may not be much emphasis or importance on developing the left-right step right now but the numbers are drastic. Not only is he going to his right-left step on 84% of his attempts but the percentage when he does is significantly better.

He can get away with stepping right-left in most situations without it causing any major issues but there are some situations, play types, etc. where the left-right step needs to be utilized and right now he just does not seem near as comfortable and fluid with it. Many of the jump stop attempts, where he landed simultaneously on two-feet as opposed to a one-two, were in place of that left-right footwork.

Shot Location

Location FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Location FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Top of Key 30 11 37% 18% 21%
Left Wing 41 7 17% 25% 13%
Right Wing 54 24 44% 33% 45%
Left Corner 19 6 32% 12% 11%
Right Corner 20 5 25% 12% 9%
164 53 32% 100% 100%

SHOT LOCATION

The two big takeaways in terms of Hayes’ shot location numbers were comparing the left to the right wing and overall shooting numbers from the corners.

As we know, the corner 3-point shot should be the easiest 3-point attempt in the NBA game due to the short distance compared to other areas of the floor. Again, we don’t want to see Hayes get “put in the corner” but there are going to be times where he needs to be able to space the floor and knock down shots when the ball ends up in his hands.

Perhaps the most interesting stat in the entire breakdown is the difference in shooting efficiency between the left and right wings. As a good friend, and producer of The Pistons Pulse, said when being shown these numbers, “is there a better pairing than a lefty shooter and the right wing?”

Play Type

Play Type FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Play Type FGA FGM FG% % of Attempts % of Makes
Transition 8 5 63% 5% 9%
Drive and Kick 62 25 40% 38% 47%
Perimeter Pass 46 11 24% 28% 21%
Isolation 32 6 19% 20% 11%
Ball Screen 16 6 38% 10% 11%
164 53 32% 100% 100%

PLAY TYPE

Similar to the Saddiq Bey breakdown, it would be nice to see Hayes get more attempts in transition but that is true for this team overall. Yes, yes, it is hard to get out in transition when you have the worst defense in the league and never get any stops.

It was nice to see the 3-point percentage on ball screen attempts, even if it is a small sample size, and hopefully that can continue to grow to eliminate defenders from going under the screen. As you can see, Hayes might do well eliminating the isolation 3-point attempts in the same way Bey needed to eliminate the side-step attempts from his breakdown.

Finally, it was previously mentioned that Hayes was shooting a respectable number on drive-and-kick 3-point attempts and you can see that is the only line over 40% that has decent volume outside of the right wing attempts. That means he is knocking down a lot of the attempts you would want to see after his teammates have been able to bend the defense.

His overall catch-and shoot numbers are actually brought down by his poor shooting on passes that simply come from around the perimeter. Yes, some of these are after a drive-and-kick and then a one more pass but many are also where the offense was stagnant and had not created much of an advantage or flow.

The types of misses were also tracked for this breakdown because it seemed Hayes was missing a lot of his attempts short. The actual number ended up being 53% of all of his misses were short with the other 47% being a combination of left, right and long. It also should be noted the amount of really, REALLY bad misses Hayes still has from time to time. This probably speaks to the fact he is still trying to get fully comfortable with his shot.

Re-watching all 164 of Hayes 3-point attempts, it was exciting to see the flow and fluidity of his shot at times but it was easy to see that consistency just is not quite there yet, especially in all shot and play types. It will be very interesting to see how the shot looks for the final 34 games of the season but hopefully we at least continue to see the confident version of Killian Hayes.

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