Kaunas “Žalgiris” is grappling with a significant challenge this season, and the spotlight is on Kevarrius Hayes, the 26-year-old American who was once a defensive pillar for the team. Despite last season’s success in preserving solid defense, Hayes seems to have lost his stride, especially after losing the main center position.
In the current season, Hayes’ contributions have become increasingly difficult to discern, with his statistics reflecting a decline in performance. Averaging 5.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.2 efficiency points in 19 minutes per EuroLeague game, Hayes fails to shine, even in the defensive aspect that was once his forte.
Former Žalgiris coach Kazys Maksvytis and current basketball coach Tomas Purlys express their concerns over Hayes’ performance. Maksvytis points out that the team’s declining form might be correlated with Hayes’ struggles on the court. Despite a coaching change, Hayes continues to cede the main center position to Laurynas Birutis.
Purlys takes a critical stance on Hayes’ gameplay, highlighting the loss of confidence and the extended period of underperformance. He suggests considering alternative players, including Daniel Lavrinovič, for the second center position. According to Purlys, Hayes’ inability to contribute offensively, particularly in finishing simple shots, and his lack of proficiency in centering raise serious doubts about his current value to the team.
The discussion extends beyond individual player performance to the team’s overall dynamics. Purlys emphasizes the team’s need for a reliable point guard, noting that Žalgiris lacks players who can read pick and roll or pick and pop situations well. He argues that finding a player with these skills is more critical than securing a center, especially given Hayes’ current struggles.
As Žalgiris faces tougher challenges, including a matchup against Barcelona with formidable players like Jan Vesely and Willy Hernangomez, the need for strategic adjustments becomes more apparent. The ongoing scrutiny of Hayes’ performance underscores the team’s quest for solutions in both individual and collective aspects of the game.
In conclusion, Žalgiris is navigating a complex season, and the spotlight on Kevarrius Hayes raises questions about the team’s overall dynamics and the need for strategic adjustments. The upcoming challenges against strong opponents will test the team’s resilience and prompt further evaluation of player roles and team strategy.