“Just being benched,” Hayes said. “That’s what made things click. I got to make sure I come to work every day and make sure I’m professional about everything. Just make sure I’m getting it in every day, getting better and just only controlling the things I can control.”
As Clark writes, after Hayes returned to his role as chief reserve center behind starter Steven Adams in March, he went on to provide stellar defense while averaging 9.6 PPG (on 61.7% shooting from the floor), 4.8 RPG and 0.8 BPG across just 18.5 MPG.
There’s more out of the Southwest Division:
- William Guillory of The Athletic estimates that there’s about a 40-50% chance of Lonzo Ball sticking with the Pelicans in restricted free agency. Guillory is more confident that Ball’s fellow RFA-to-be Josh Hart (60-70%) will be back
- Now that their offseason has officially commenced, the Grizzlies could begin reshaping their roster around star point guard Ja Morant and promising big man Jaren Jackson Jr., writes Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian. Morant took his play to the next level during Memphis’ series against Utah, averaging 30 PPG (on 49% field goal shooting), 8 APG, and 5 RPG. Though Morant is still honing his defense and outside shooting, he showed off his brilliance as a ball handler and interior scorer, Herrington contends. Assessing the long-term fits of Morant’s supporting cast, including Jackson, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, Grayson Allen, De’Anthony Melton, and veteran center Jonas Valanciunas, Herrington suggests that Morant and Jackson may be the only two guaranteed mainstays on the roster.
- Though the West’s fifth-seeded Mavericks have the fourth-seeded Clippers on the ropes with a 3-2 advantage in the two teams’ first-round rematch, the team is wary of celebrating too early, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.