Scouting Profile: P.J. Hairston
With the draft fast approaching, we will be taking a look at potential draft prospects writers who have covered the prospects in college or -- in the case of international prospects -- spent a great deal of time scouting them. Today we’ll look at P.J. Hairston (G - Texas Legends (D-League)) with some help from Keith Schlosser (@KeithBSchlosser) who covers the D-League for SB Nation’s ridiculousupside.com.
What are Hairston's strengths? Weaknesses?
While in the D-League, Hairston provided NBA teams with a glimpse of what he could do as a pro. He's very athletic, helps spread the floor, and can score the basketball in transition. He can be an offensive threat in a number of ways and has been known to hold his own defensively as well.
Though he's a versatile player on offense, Hairston may not be recognized as a "go-to-guy" once he hits the NBA hardwood. He can score the ball quite well, but isn't especially great at one specific thing just yet. He could be an excellent complementary player.
How do you think his game translates to the NBA?
D-League teams often operate with a system similar to that of an NBA affiliate, so it's easy to relate that to how well Hairston played in the minor league. He's already experienced success in a league that's so similar, whereas most players coming straight from college are likely to go through an adjustment period.
There's a role for him somewhere, and it should be a quicker transition than it is for most prospects.
What style of play do you think he'd be most comfortable in?
Hairston could definitely play well in an run & gun offense. He's very quick, attentive (he's quick to react and run the floor), and can pick and hit his spots from just about anywhere on the court. He's the type of guy that can keep a defense guessing at all times. Players like that always offer value in an offense that continuously flows.
What NBA player would you compare him to?
He's shown flashes of being able to serve as a bouncier Marcus Thornton. Both players offer their respective teams similar attributes, though Hairston had to be more of the aggressor during his time in the D-League. Once he is able to mix and match with other NBA talents, it'll be easier to find a niche as he comes into his own a bit more.
What do you see as his NBA ceiling (All-Star/Starter/Spot-Starter/Rotation Player)?
This is a tricky question, because so many players have realized success as of late by rising up as a product of a given system. Coaches know how to utilize players in the best ways, so Hairston's role will come down to what a prospective coach believes his biggest strengths really are.
He's the type of guy who can step in and fill certain voids based on respective matchups each and every night, so perhaps it's fair to say he could rise up as a spot-starter and then take it from there.
What was his most memorable performance from this season?
The decision for a potential first-round draft pick to play in the D-League beforehand is a big one, so all eyes were on Hairston early on. In just his second game of the season, he scored 40 points.
That wouldn't even go on to be highest scoring output of the season, but the fact that he was able to turn heads from the word "go" showed he meant business. Everyone wanted to see what else he could do (or if he could keep that up) the rest of the way.
Reporter: Robby Kalland