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Houston’s Unsung Hero
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November 11, 2009 in The Good Stuff

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Good article from Hoopsworld

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about Chuck

The road to the NBA is never an easy one, even for the kids who wind up as first round draft picks with guaranteed contracts handed to them. Chuck Hayes wasn’t drafted into the NBA, so his journey was even harder. He worked his way into the league by standing out in the NBADL and catching the attention of the Houston Rockets. He recorded a double-double in the second game of his first ten-day contract in January of 2006 and he’s been an invaluable member of the team ever since.

“It’s really an internal drive,” Hayes says of what got him to this point of his career. “This is what I’ve wanted to do all my life. It would have been great to hear my name called on draft night, but mine wasn’t, unfortunately. I had to take the alternate route through the D-League and I enjoyed my experience down there. It was a learning experience, a humbling experience, and it showed me that everybody has a different story, a different path. Mine took the Albuquerque route and came back here.”

Hayes’ numbers don’t jump out at you, averaging right around seven points and seven rebounds per game, but the Houston Rockets aren’t about box scores or flashy stats. They’re a team that truly appreciates the intangibles, which is why Hayes fits in so well. Read the rest of this entry →

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The Grassroots campaign
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November 6, 2009 in NBA 09-10 Season

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, News
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, The Good Stuff
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Recently on an interview with Sportsradio 610 Jason Friedman announced he was going to do his best to get Chuck on the All Defensive team this season. With Yao out, he is hopeful that Hayes will get the minutes to be noticed.

The campaign started today.  On Rockets.com

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:

Despite being generously listed at 6-6, Chuck has already risen to the challenge of checking massive centers (Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum), skilled fours (LaMarcus Aldridge) and scoring two-guards (Corey Maggette) this season. No real surprise there, though. That’s just how Hayes rolls and he does it with aplomb. There’s just one problem: it’s difficult to tell how effective he really is simply by breezing through a nightly box score. Hayes comes out well in steals (we’ll get to that in a moment) but blocked shots aren’t really his calling card. All of which might make it somewhat challenging to sell a still-skeptical public on Hayes’ credentials as a cream of the crop defensive maestro.

“I may not be top in the league in blocks but if I’m guarding, say, LaMarcus Aldridge and I make him shoot a bad percentage, then I hope they pay attention to that,” says Hayes. “I just wish there was a stat for keeping your man to the lowest field goal percentage.”

Well guess what, Chuck? You just so happen to work for the most number-crunching team in the league. Of course there’s a stat for that!

Consider these numbers (courtesy of the Rockets’ Basketball Operations department):

Steals: Hayes ranks 2nd (out of 303 players; behind only Rajon Rondo) in the entire league in Steal% (Steals per defensive possession). Keep in mind, the top spots in this category are typically reserved for point guards and wings, as illustrated by the fact that Hayes currently is the only big in the Top 10.

Lest you think his lofty status is simply a byproduct of a small sample size, since 2007, Hayes ranks 14th in the entire league in Stl% and is by far the best big (1st out of 127). No other post player is even in the top 35.

Charges: (Offensive Fouls Drawn per defensive possession) Since 2008 Hayes is top 10 (6th out of 265) in the entire league in drawing offensive fouls.

Team Defense: Since 2005, Hayes has the best Defensive Efficiency Rating (Based on team points allowed per defensive possession while the player is on the floor) regardless of position in the entire league.

After Jason posted his rational, Henry Abbot at ESPN’s Truehoop

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, threw in his support.

Chuck Hayes is starting in place of Yao Ming, and the Rockets are out of the gates 3-2, which makes them just one of ten NBA teams with a winning record. They’ve beaten Golden State, Portland and Utah, and lost to the Lakers by a single point. Tonight they play the Thunder, which will be the first time all season Houston has been favored to win.

How have they had this surprising starless success? 6-6 Chuck Hayes is tiny for an NBA center, but he’s a huge part of the reason.

Jason Friedman of Rockets.com is kicking off a campaign to get Chuck Hayes on the NBA’s All-Defense team. I’ll second that.

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The Chuck-wagon is on a roll
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November 6, 2009 in The Good Stuff

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Lots of links the last week about Chuck… here are some of the highlights.

Jonathon Feigen on Chuck’s Battle Against the Lakers

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The Rockets had led, 89-85, with 1:33 remaining in regulation after an Aaron Brooks 3-pointer, but Bryant twice went to the line, knocking down all four free throws to tie the game. Chuck Hayes grabbed the rebound of an Ariza miss, but Shane Battier could not hang on to Hayes’ pass. Moments later, when Luis Scola went to double Bryant, Artest was left open for a 3-pointer to give the Lakers a 92-89 lead with 30 seconds left.

Ariza, however, had an answer. He won a jump ball and then nailed his 3 with 14.2 seconds left to tie the game. The Lakers went to Bryant, but Hayes switched on a screen and smacked the ball free with seven-tenths of a second remaining. When the Lakers tried to inbounds to Andrew Bynum, Hayes slapped that away, too.

“Chuck being Chuck,” Battier said. “If you want a treat, watch Chuck Hayes for a game. He is fantastic at what he does.”

In overtime, the Rockets had a few minutes of Hayes being Bryant. After a Bryant free throw for a one-point lead, Hayes finished a drive. After a Bryant jumper, Hayes scored again, giving him 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting to go with 14 rebounds.

Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer Loves the Rockets

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The Rockets? They’re just a joy.

Chuck Hayes is a 6-6 Kevin Garnett. His footwork belongs on Mt. Rushmore. His hands belong in the Smithsonian. He had two steals tonight, and caused as many jump balls. He’s a center that’s in the top five in steals, per game, in barely half a game. His defense is unbelievable. And now (7-9 shooting, no hesitation around the hoop) you have to pay attention to him when someone drives and dishes.

Chron’s Justice says that Hayes fever has gripped the Rockets

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Chuck Hayes is the most remarkable player on the NBA’s most remarkable team. How’s that for an opening sentence? Good one, huh?

Don’t believe me? Let’s check in at Toyota Center and run it past some people who should know.

“Luis Scola and I were talking in the weight room this morning,” Shane Battier said, “and we both agreed Chuck Hayes is our favorite player in the NBA.”

How so?

“It’s pretty amazing what he does,” Battier said. “He’s a huge reason we’ve been one of the best defensive teams in the league the last few years.”

How about you, Carl Landry? Do you love Hayes as much as the rest of us?

“He’s the perfect player,” Landry said. “He rebounds, plays defense, takes charges, gets steals. He does the dirty work.”

Is that right, Scola?

“It’s a pleasure to play with him,” Scola said. “He plays hard. He does everything a basketball player should do. He’s a great teammate.”

Surely someone disagrees. Coach Rick Adelman, are you ready to get rid of the Chuck Wagon?

“He’s incredible,” Adelman said. “You watch him play that game (against the Lakers on Wednesday) against a 7-1 guy (Andrew Bynum). That guy is a really good young player. He gets 17 points and 17 rebounds. Chuck ends up with 14 and 14.

“When he’s on the court, we’re so different. Right now, he’s confident and making some plays for himself. He’s playing with a lot of freedom. I marvel at what he gets done against certain people in this league.”

Once upon a time, Hayes was one of the NBA’s best-kept secrets. Only the Rockets seemed to know how good he was. Jeff Van Gundy fell in love with him midway through about one practice, and then Adelman arrived and did the same thing.

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Which one is the better Defensive PF?
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March 27, 2009 in Photos

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, The Good Stuff
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The big guy in the red or the little girl in the bed?

Great little tear jerker from Jerome Solomon on Chron.com

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Makayla Henson was excited at the prospect of seeing a Houston Rocket.

Not just any Rocket. Her favorite — Chuck Hayes.

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On Friday, she waited for him around the lobby on the 12th floor of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital as long as she could before tiring. Plus, it was time to get her bandages changed.

A week and a half after being burned in a frightful accident, Makayla isn’t yet back to full strength, but she wanted to be up to see someone she had seen only on TV.

Forced to return to her room, she was deflated. The tough kid has been having some tough days of late.

But her tears quickly dried up a little later when the hulking Rocket dipped his head and walked into her room along with team CEO Tad Brown.

It was a special visit. Read the rest of this entry →

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