Houston Rockets: The 15 greatest centers of all-time

By Tevin Williams
Houston Rockets - Hakeem Olajuwon (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets - Hakeem Olajuwon (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

. . Center, Power Forward. Chuck Hayes. 12. 169

Chuck Hayes went undrafted in 2005, but signed with the Rockets as a free agent. Hayes’ numbers don’t exactly jump off of the stat sheet, but he was one of those tough effort players that every team needs.

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Hayes had his career year in the 2010-11 season. Yao Ming appeared in just five games that season and Houston traded away Tracy McGrady the year before. This opened an opportunity for Hayes to step up in the Rockets rotation.

Not only did Hayes average career highs in points (7.9) and rebounds (8.1), but he also finished with more first place votes for NBA Defensive Player of the Year than every player in the league not named Dwight Howard.

Hayes signed with the Sacramento Kings as a free agent in 2011. Sacramento traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015, but he was cut less than two months later. Hayes signed with Houston again in 2015 and he appeared in two games before getting cut for a final time and then he decided to call it quits.

Hayes was just 6-foot-6 tall, but he held his own against giants that were often at least half a foot taller than him. He brought energy and hustle to the court night in and night out. His relentless effort particularly on the defensive end allowed Hayes to carve out a decade-long career in the NBA, mostly notable with the Rockets.