Latest Laker: Nigel Hayes
The Lakers’ latest signee is a one that can potentially fill a big void for the team.
L.A. inked Nigel Hayes to a 10-day contract on Friday, using its last open roster spot on one of the NBA G League’s top shooters.
Hayes has shot 45.2 percent from 3-point range for the Westchester Knicks — the seventh-best clip in the G League.
The 23-year-old has been deadly from every spot beyond the arc, hitting 42.6 percent from above the arc and 47.9 percent from the corners.
It’s been an excellent adjustment to the NBA 3-point line, as he was just a 33.2 percent shooter in four years at Wisconsin.
But Hayes has been efficient from all across the floor, not just 3-point range.
He has hit 56.8 percent of layups and 44.3 percent from mid-range. The forward has averaged 14.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 3-pointers in his rookie year with Westchester.
A 6-foot-8, 245-pounder, Hayes has played both forward spots in the G League. His massive 7-foot-3 wingspan gives him an edge on the defensive side, though tracking small forwards and bodying power forwards could be a challenge.
The Toledo native is coming off a stellar collegiate career that finished as the third-highest scorer in Wisconsin history. He is also the only Badger to finish among the school’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding and assists.
His Wisconsin highlight came at the expense of new teammate Josh Hart, as Hayes had a game-winning reverse layup to knock Villanova out of the NCAA Tournament last March.
But perhaps his favorite moment came off the court, as he was able to meet Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, whose locker he was psyched to occupy during the 2015 Tournament.
Dear @kobebryant, I'll admit I was a late addition to the Kobe Bryant bandwagon. With that being said, I've quickly tried to make up for lost time. One of the greatest moments of my life thus far was meeting you. I told you I picked 10 because it was your U.S.A. number and that I wanted to be as good as you one day. To that you replied: "Keep working hard and you'll get there." So that's what I'll do. Sincerely, Nigel Hayes. #MambaDay