Houston Rockets target #3: Chuck Hayes
Chuck Hayes first joined the Houston Rockets as an undrafted rookie in 2006, in part because of a slew of injuries to Yao Ming, who missed 25 games during Hayes’ rookie season. The former Kentucky Wildcat became a steady contributor for the Rockets on a limited 13 minutes per night, earning him a bigger role during the following year.
In 2006-07, Yao also battled injuries, giving Hayes an opportunity to start 43 games, which he made the most of. At 6-foot-6, Hayes was an undersized center, but his defensive tenacity and efforts made him a force to be reckoned with for opposing bigs.
Hayes would finish within the top six of the league in defensive rating in each of the next two seasons and was the vision of the Rockets’ 2019-20 iteration of the microball strategy, as stated by former Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Hayes retired in 2016 and was hired on by Morey and the Rockets in 2017 as a player personnel scout and has remained in the role ever since.
Morey recently spoke about the value that Hayes has brought to the Rockets’ front office.
“Chuck being a recent top player brings a different perspective. People think it’s all analytics, all about data, all an inhuman machine. Anyone close to us knows it’s not true.”
Hayes’ experience as a scout would certainly come in handy as it pertains to an assistant GM, as he’s had to identify talent, which will obviously be a chief responsibility of the role. Hayes’ knowledge of the game, having been a former NBA player, will also benefit him, and his experience as an unheralded player would figure to help him, as it pertains to knowing the importance of finding diamonds in the rough.
Next: No. 2