Killian Hayes, the Frenchman rising in the NBA, is expected to star in Bercy

Great for two months with the Pistons, Killian Hayes (21) will be one of the attractions of the NBA Paris Game, between Detroit and Chicago Thursday night in Bercy.

The NBA is back in Paris! Three years after Milwaukee won against Charlottethe Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls will face Bercy this Thursday night. In 2020, Nicolas Batum was the French star of the night. This year, all eyes are on Killian Hayes.

The 21-year-old point guard is the Frenchman on the rise in the NBA. “It’s going to be an incredible experience to play in France in Paris. We’re taking it seriously. It’s really an opportunity for me and my team.”, he said Wednesday, before the Pistons’ practice in Levallois. He hopes he will have a great time, in front of his friends and family members, some of whom come from Cholet. “A lot of people haven’t seen me play since I left France”he is delicious.

They will have a chance to see the scale taken by the native of Lakeland, Florida. The Franco-American, son of two former basketball players, came to the NBA two and a half years ago, with a very good rating. The Pistons drafted him in the 7th position, a record for a French player (hanging by a thread with the phenomenon Victor Wembanyama).

The statistics are increasing

His first two years were difficult: 26 matches in 2020-2021, 66 in the following exercise. For its third season, the first matches draw an alarming curve, with few statistics, and an address at half-mast. But when star point guard Cade Cunningham was injured, Killian Hayes took his chance and gained confidence.

“When you come to the NBA, there are many expectations. I was hurt once, but I never lost my trust, he explains. And eventually, you get used to it, you gain experience with each match, you start to ‘mature’, adapt. I think I understood the principle of my duty, we must continue this momentum and remain consistent. »

Over the past three months, he’s been building momentum: averaging around 10 points and 5 assists in November, 12 points and 6.6 assists in December, and now 14.6 points and 8 assists since January. All had a game-high 26 points against Philadelphia ten days ago, increased scoring efficiency, and fewer bad nights. That’s all he’s looking for.

“The NBA is difficult, long, 82 games. When you watch the best NBA players, they’re there every game, and that’s what I have to limit, you have to limit the bad games. Even if the shots aren’t going in, you have to find something else to do to help my team win.” explained one who now had the keys to his young team’s game.

In Bercy, Killian Hayes will not take himself for others, and seeks to create a card to mark the spirits. “My role will remain the same, I won’t do things I haven’t done before, we will stick to the game plan,” he promised.

His trainer, the experienced Dwane Casey, emphasizes the “great job” made by his student, who “will be amazing”. With a very young team, around Jaden Ivey (21), Isaiah Stewart (21) and Jalen Duren (19), Killian Hayes has time to learn and develop.

And soon the Blues?

The logical next step is to see him in the France team. Killian Hayes is European U16 champion and vice-world U17 champion, but he has yet to play at A. It should be for the 2023 World Cup, for which he has applied. In any case, his team wouldn’t mind seeing him join the Blues, which doesn’t always happen in the NBA.

“I am campaigning for Killian, I hope he is in the French team for the Olympic Gamescoach Dwane Casey launched. I think he can be a good playmaker for the team, he has enough talent. » In a position where Nando de Colo, another former Choletais, will need to one day be replaced, this will be good news for the Blues.

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