I feel like the reason I chose Nigel Hayes as my second player profile for the 2017 NBA Draft bodes no discussion. I love Nigel and I think he is going to be a hidden gem in this year’s draft.
Nigel Hayes, fresh off graduating from my school, the University of Wisconsin, is about as accomplished as an athlete coming out of college can be.
In his career as a Badger, he was a key player in 4 solid NCAA March Madness runs, featuring 2 Final Four appearances, and 2 Sweet Sixteens. Obviously, had Nigel entered the draft 2 years ago, he would have been considered as a mid round choice, however, choosing to stick it out two more years, has lowered his stock, putting him in the second round. Whatever team chooses Nigel is sure to love the value they are getting.
Nigel fell in stock because following the exit of Wisconsin stars, Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky, he never really assumed the star role. He averaged under 20 PPG and this season only finished with 7 Rebounds per game as well. While not terrible numbers, NBA teams are questioning how he lost production while becoming the main scoring option. They may feel that Nigel has a hard time scoring on his own.
This is all may change however, due to his excellent March Madness performance in 2017. Nigel led the team with 21 PPG and scored the key basket to beat top seed Villanova in the round of 32. It was also Nigel that kept Wisconsin in the game against Florida. It needs to be known that his free throw shooting was also the reason the Badgers fell, but without him, they would not have been in a winning position in the first place.
Regardless, Nigel turned back the clock and made a positive mark on his stock at the most important time of his career.
Some interesting Hayes’ measurables
It is interesting to see Hayes wingspan be a significant amount larger than his height, as he is sort of short for a power forward, yet his wingspan is very nice for a small forward. With Hayes height and weight, he could make for a deadly, oversized Lebron type of small forward, falling on the notion he gets his jumpshot improved. Nigel has experienced a very poor shooting performance, and it is essential he improves. His defense however, is top notch and almost the best in the Big Ten conference. His style and talent will translate very easily into the pros.
All around, Nigel is an excellent talent. His mechanics and post moves are so fine-tuned, and his defensive mechanics are on spot as well. His lackluster shooting both on the line and around need to be improved if Nigel wants to hear his name come draft day. I am confident he will make an NBA team and personally really hope the Bulls take a good look at him come the second round. He would make for an excellent back-up to Jimmy Butler.