Jaxson Hayes was not able to play in the New Orleans Pelicans first games at Las Vegas NBA Summer League as he was stuck in purgatory until the massive Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers, Hawks, and Wizards was officially finalized.
When he did step onto the floor on Monday night against the Bulls, he put on a show in the first half with some very impressive play on both ends of the floor. Hayes’ talent has long been tantalizing to NBA evaluators, but inconsistencies and a rawness to his game meant he was always going to be a bit of a project, albeit with tremendous upside.
On Monday that upside was on display as he had 15 first half points and his freakish athleticism led to one of the best dunks you’ll see in the NBA all year, Summer League or not, as he leapt over a defender to throw down a thunderous dunk.
The reverse angle from behind the backboard shows just how ridiculous Hayes’ bounce is as his knees are at the defender’s head as he skies for the jam.
Between Hayes and Zion Williamson, the Pelicans figure to have a hyper-athletic frontcourt for the foreseeable future, and the two are capable of phenomenal dunks that will excite the New Orleans crowd. We’ll find out just how good they are as a tandem, but if nothing else, games at the Smoothie King Center will produce plenty of highlights.