Following one collegiate season at Texas, Hayes was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He made his NBA debut with the Pelicans on Oct. 28 against the Warriors. In 24 minutes, the rookie posted 19 points (9-11 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 1-3 FT) three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. The 6-foot-11 center posted his first of three double-doubles Nov. 17 against the Warriors. In his 32 minutes, he recorded 10 points (3-5 FG, 4-6 FT), 10 rebounds, three blocks and one steal. On Dec. 5, Hayes set his career high with five blocks against the Suns. In that game, he also had 17 points (6-8 FG, 5-7 FT), five rebounds and one assist. Hayes scored his career-high 20 points Jan. 11 against the Celtics. In that contest, he shot 9-of-13 from the field and 2-of-5 from the charity stripe while also recording two rebounds, two blocks and one assist in 26 minutes. Hayes had 16 performances with double-digit points, 26 performances with five-plus rebounds and 12 performances with multiple assists. On the defense end, the athletic rookie also had 21 performances with at least one steal and five performances with at least three blocks. Before the 2019-20 season was put on hiatus due to COVID-19, Hayes averaged 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 0.9 assists and 0.4 steals across 17.0 minutes. The Pelicans were one of 22 teams invited to participate in the resumption of the season within a bubble in Orlando. During the eight seeding games, Hayes averaged 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.3 blocks across 16.1 minutes.
June 20, 2019Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round (8th pick) of the 2019 NBA Draft.
July 7, 2019Traded by the Atlanta Hawks with Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Marcos Louzada Silva and a 2020 1st round draft pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jordan Bone, Solomon Hill, De'Andre Hunter and a 2023 2nd round draft pick and signed a rookie deal shortly thereafter.