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Mailbag: Is picking Killian Hayes on the table for the Cavs?

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The short answer is no.

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From Ariel R.: I’ve become disillusioned with Darius Garland. I understand that he’s just 20 but his rookie season coupled with his size and lack of finishing has shattered most of my hopes of him becoming a corner stone piece. Enter Killian Hayes. Kid is a smooth 6’5 prospect that would allow us to match up a lot better against other teams’ guards. Have the Cavaliers spoken to Hayes and his agent throughout the draft process? I think he has one of the highest upsides in the draft. If we did go the route how would he fit into the team? How would that affect team chemistry? Would we be able to make it work with Sexton, Garland, Hayes and Porter Jr.? Cavaliers need to go BPA and if that happens to be Hayes, then so be it.

A few months back, Hayes’ agent said that the Cavs had not contacted Hayes and, as far as I know, that hasn’t changed. I don’t think Hayes is likely in the running at No. 5. If he’s in a Cleveland hat on Nov. 18, it’s because the Cavs picked him to then trade him to a team lower in the lottery — maybe the Pistons, maybe the Knicks — who both require a point guard.

Let’s say, though, the Cavs pick him and view him as the best player available. I don’t think you’d be able to start him from day one, but you’d be trying to find him the best minutes possible. With his size, can in theory play easier with Sexton or Garland as a nominal two-guard. (Sexton’s off-ball ability definitely would come in handy were they to play Hayes with Sexton.) You could also see the Cavs three-guard lineups like what the Thunder did last year.

In theory, you could make it work with those four guys. A pecking order probably develops organically anyway. Basketball now is far less rigid than it was even five years ago. You need multiple players who can handle and create to win at the highest level.

Would picking Hayes affect team chemistry? I have no idea. I can’t speak to what he’s like as a person and, as far as I know, he has no previous connection with any Cavs player. All that seems obvious to me is that picking another guard would complicate things for everyone involved in a way an Isaac Okoro or Deni Avdija wouldn’t.

I think Hayes is really interesting. I also don’t think the Cavs have him as the best player available in any of the realistic scenarios with the No. 5 pick.

As for the Garland part of this, there’s not a defense of his rookie year as a whole. There’s not a stat, advanced or otherwise, that makes you sure he’s a cornerstone piece. Based on RPM, he was the 93rd ranked point guard last year overall, 80th in DRPM, and 88th on offense. His turnover rate was high too. Overall, Garland was bad. You can’t spin it.

But I think there has to be some time given to him. He had two head coaches last year. He missed a full year and he was always going to need time to get his body right and look more like himself. By all accounts, he’s physically in a much better place right now heading into year two.

In June, Garland told cleveland.com that he never felt like himself during his rookie season.

“To be honest with you, no,” Garland told cleveland.com. “The knee injury, I always had it in the back of my head. It was tough because I know what I’m capable of doing. I had to play more games and get in the weight room and get back to myself. I just wanted to get back to being myself.”

Point guard in the NBA also has a massive learning curve, maybe the biggest in the league. There are things he does as a shooter and passer that, to me, are interesting and show he has a good feel for the game.

No question, though, that this year is a very important year for Garland. He has to better if he wants to factor into the team’s plans going forward.