Jaxson Hayes to Pelicans: New Orleans' Current Roster After 2019 NBA DraftJune 21, 2019
Texas Longhorns big men hearing their name called early in the NBA draft is becoming a regular occurrence.
After the Brooklyn Nets selected Jarrett Allen with the 22nd pick of the 2017 draft and the Orlando Magic selected Mohamed Bamba with the No. 6 selection last year, the New Orleans Pelicans chose Jaxson Hayes with the No. 8 pick Thursday.
Here is how the Pelicans' roster looks after the Hayes selection.
Check out B/R NBA draft expert Jonathan Wasserman’s scouting profile on Hayes.
Pelicans Active Roster and Average Salary (Expiration Year)
Brandon Ingram, SF: $6M (2020)
Christian Wood, PF: $1.6M (2020)
Dairis Bertans, SG: $0.8M (2020)
E'Twaun Moore, SG: $8.5M (2020)
Frank Jackson, PG: $1.3M (2020)
Jahlil Okafor, C: $1.6M (2020)
Josh Hart, SG: $1.7M (2021)
Jrue Holiday, PG: $26.4M (2022)
Kenrich Williams, SF: $1.1M (2020)
Lonzo Ball, PG: $7.5M (2021)
Zion Williamson, PF: $8.1M (2023)
Jaxson Hayes, C: $4.3M (2023)
Cheick Diallo, PF: RFA
Darius Miller, SF: UFA
Elfrid Payton, PG: UFA
Ian Clark, SG: UFA
Julius Randle, PF: UFA
Stanley Johnson, SF: RFA
Trevon Bluiett, SG: UFA
Hayes arrived at Texas as a 4-star prospect in the class of 2018, per 247Sports' composite rankings, but he was unable to lead the Longhorns to the NCAA tournament in his lone collegiate season. He also missed the NIT because of a knee injury, but that didn't stop Texas from winning the tournament.
The big man posted a solid but unspectacular 10.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game at Texas. However, he impressed with 2.2 blocks per game and shot a head-turning 72.8 percent from the field.
Hayes was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year, second-team All-Big 12 and Big 12 All-Defense as a result.
Texas head coach Shaka Smart said of the 19-year-old (via Chris Dortch of NBA.com):
"Clearly the NBA guys see the potential. This guy didn't have a double-double [in points and rebounds] all year. You can do the research, but I challenge you to find a 6-11 kid who's going to be a top-10 pick that never had a double-double. I'm not saying that negatively. Some guys are picked for what they can do in a shorter term. The bigger they are, the longer they are, it's more about potential."
Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report ranked Hayes as the fourth-best frontcourt prospect in the draft in May and said he "will be in the mix for the first true center drafted after turning heads with his size, athleticism, activity and efficiency."
He pointed to the big man's ability to work in the pick-and-roll and get out in transition on offense while protecting the rim as a shot-blocker on defense.
Hayes figures to be an immediate contributor in the Pelicans rotation because of those abilities alone, and he should only improve with experience after playing just one season of college ball. He'll join Zion Williamson, who the Pelicans took with the No. 1 overall selection earlier Thursday.
Hayes could be viewed as a long-term replacement for Anthony Davis on defense for New Orleans.
Salary info via Spotrac.