Jaxson Hayes Pelicans Season in Review

Jaxson Hayes Pelicans Season in Review | 2019-20

by Jim Eichenhofer
  • Age 20
  • Experience One season (one with Pelicans)
  • Games Played/Games Started 64/14

When his NBA career began last fall, the thing Jaxson Hayes needed most – significant in-game experience – also seemed to be very unlikely for him to gain. Three games into the 2019-20 regular season, the then-teenager had yet to see a minute of action. However, after a series of unforeseen circumstances, including starting center Derrick Favors missing a total of 21 games, the 6-foot-11 Hayes logged 1,080 minutes as a rookie, more than his 747 minutes during one college season with the Texas Longhorns.

As a result, the Cincinnati native was forced to learn on the fly, accelerating the process of him soaking up pointers and improving as a very untested youngster.

“The biggest takeaway is just all the little stuff I learned, like defensively,” Hayes said after New Orleans’ season finale Aug. 13. “Picking up stuff from vets like (Derrick Favors), Jahlil (Okafor) and learning positioning and how the game’s played. Really just getting a feel for the NBA, the flow of the game.”

    Jaxson Hayes Per-Game Stats from 2019-20 NBA Season

  • Minutes 16.9
  • Field Goal % 67.2
  • Three Point % 25.0
  • Free Throw % 64.7
  • Points 7.4
  • Rebounds 4.0
  • Assists 0.9
  • Steals 0.4
  • Blocks 0.9

The high-flying Hayes delivered several did-that-really-just-happen highlights along the way, but at season’s end, he believed the most important development of Year 1 was the strides he made mentally.

“It’s night and day, how much I’ve learned since the beginning of the season,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, I was just in there trying to make plays, trying to be athletic. I was getting a bunch of fouls. Now I feel like I’ve grown a lot more.”

Jaxson Hayes | By The Numbers

  • 67.2

    Shooting percentage from the field for Hayes, the league’s fifth-best rate for a player who was on the floor for 1,000-plus minutes. The only frequently-used players who shot better were New York’s Mitchell Robinson (74.2), the Lakers’ Dwight Howard (72.9), Utah’s Rudy Gobert (69.3) and Oklahoma City’s Nerlens Noel (68.4).

  • 3

    Games of 10-plus rebounds for Hayes, all wins for the Pelicans, vs. Chicago, Golden State and New York. Rebounding is an area where he will focus on improving during his second NBA season, but he made some strides as a rookie. His best board game at Texas was seven at Kansas State.

  • 5

    Games of three-plus blocks for Hayes. New Orleans went 4-1 in those instances, including a pair of relatively comfortable victories over Portland. On Dec. 23 at Moda Center, Hayes swatted four Trail Blazers shots in only 17 minutes of playing time.

Jaxson Hayes | Most Notable Games from 2019-20 NBA Season

  • #1, Jan. 10, New Orleans 123, New York 111

    One night before tallying his career high in scoring with 20 points at Boston, Hayes rang up 18 points in Madison Square Garden. The 18-point outing came on outstanding efficiency from the field (7 of 8) and resulted in a double-double. Hayes posted 10 rebounds and two blocks in 29 minutes.

  • #2, Jan. 8, New Orleans 123, Chicago 108

    Perhaps the most memorable Hayes dunk of the season came against the Bulls in the United Center, but he compiled a better overall game vs. Chicago in the Smoothie King Center on Jan. 8. Coming off the bench, Hayes contributed 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in just 24 minutes.

  • #3, Nov. 17, New Orleans 108, Golden State 100

    Hayes compiled a pair of early-season “breakout” games against the Warriors, including his Oct. 28 official NBA debut in which he scored 19 points on 9/11 shooting. In this mid-November win, his initial double-double in the pros featured 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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