1. San Antonio Spurs
Much has been said already about Victor Wembanyama and the lack of playmakers around him. Whether it’s teammates ignoring him when they have the ball and he’s open, or the fact that the pairing of him and Tre Jones spearhead the few positive lineups they’ve had this season, his lack of production can most times be attributed to that. They didn’t add anything in the form of playmaking at the deadline, and Hayes could be an addition without them giving up anything. The team has enough shooting and slashers to open the floor as is, and just need someone to make the right reads when they tilt the defense.
Jeremy Sochan was the starting point guard at the beginning of the season and couldn’t do that (maybe that was galaxy brain by the franchise to guarantee they were bad?), Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson have a score-first mentality, and the rest of the supporting cast can’t create advantages consistently. Hayes has shown flashes of being able to manipulate defenses, is quick and has the IQ and talent to make a lot of passes to anyone. Pair him with Wemby, a player that can seemingly catch any pass with his long frame, and Hayes’ stock could increase by proxy.
Wemby and Hayes are both French, for whatever that’s worth, so they could relate on a personal level in that regard. He would also be coached by Gregg Popovich, known for his development. I’m sure he would be put in a better situation than he was in Detroit, even if they both have similar records.
Ultimately, whether you think this is all good analysis or view it as me coping because I was one of the people high on his potential, so much so that he was my Rookie of the Year pick (definitely some of that present), I still think he can be a useful player.
We shall see if any teams think so as well.