Tom Ziller fails to explain Chuck Hayes, as we all do

Photo courtesy of Kyle Lowry's Twitter

Ranking this year’s thin-but-fascinating class of free agents soon to be swallowed whole by the upcoming whirlpool of machinations and scheming that is 2011 NBA free agency, Tom Ziller came upon Houston’s own beloved, incomparable, ineffable Chuck Hayes and had this to say:

I’m not asking you to understand Chuck Hayes, because I don’t. I’m asking you to accept him. He’s among the best defenders in the league at both frontcourt positions — yes, he mostly played center at 6’6 last season — and he’s essentially replacement level on offense, ignoring the offensive glass, where he’s brilliant. His triple-double last season remains a feat of man no one can explain. God bless Chuck Hayes. Feed him a mini mid-level, someone. Just do it.

While I’m loath to neglect mentioning Hayes’ ability to defend basically any position (I’ve seen him switch off to guard players from LeBron James to Chris Paul to Rajon Rondo and handle himself remarkably well), we must all thank Ziller for spreading the good news about the walking tree stump of a human that is the Chuck Wagon, a man so impressive in his heart that he’s even led me to kind of like that idiotic nickname. While the idea of the Rockets losing Hayes this year literally breaks my heart (seriously, crumbling apart like so many crackers in the bottom of the package), if anyone deserves to finally be fairly paid for the unending workload given to him, that man is Chuck.

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Trades and free agency discussion in the Ninetyfourums

The forums seemed to be down these past few days but are now fixed and running.  You can access them by clicking the ‘ninetyfourums’ tab at the top right of the page.

With so much speculation league-wide we won’t have the capacity to write about everything.  With that said, you are more than welcome to open discussion amongst yourselves in the forums.  Where will Brandon Roy land after the Blazers inevitably ‘amnesty’ him?  Can the Rockets land Nene?  Perhaps most interestingly, who wins the CP3 sweepstakes?

Shoot me a line at with your comments and suggestions.

Join the discussion.

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It doesn’t pay to be careful

In the midst of the current celebration of the NBA’s impending return, I hate to be the one to complain. I really am as excited as the next nerd to once again be able to spend my evenings watching Sacramento play Minnesota on some grainy European feed that crashes every five minutes and is called entirely in Spanish or to alienate my non-basketball friends (which are most of them) with a near-shouting match at a crowded restaurant about how many rebounds Marcus Camby averaged in 2008 (13), but I am genuinely a little miffed about a few aspects of this new CBA.

So here’s a fake interview I did with David Stern: Read More »

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Is it time for the Rockets to tank?

The Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice reported earlier that the Houston Rockets will pursue Denver Nuggets center Nene as their primary target once free agency season begins.  I must ask whether this would be the wisest course of action.  Does adding the 29-year-old make the Rockets title contenders?  Most likely not.  If the team is to make the postseason, they would surrender their first round draft pick to New Jersey (by way of the Terrence Williams trade.)

A quartet of Nene, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry, and Kevin Martin–alongside a bench brigade featuring Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Chuck Hayes, and Patrick Patterson–would be formidable and would almost surely push the Rockets into the playoffs.  If taking into consideration the team’s prowess late last season (1st in the league in offensive efficiency) after sorting out the Yao mess, one could even see them vying for home-court.  When digging deeper into the numbers, Nene is far more effective than his 14 and 7 averages would indicate and would give Houston the physical inside force it has forever lacked.

But still, would that be enough?  Would the effort be worthwhile?  There’s no doubting that Daryl Morey could stock this roster top to bottom with quality talent over the years.  Yet watching Dirk Nowitzki last June turn in one of the great performances for the ages, we should be even more convinced that great players are necessary to win championships.

Adding Nene might provide for some interesting basketball over the next few years, but it would delay the inevitable.  The Rockets need to rebuild through the draft to once more become relevant.  If the rumored “two and through” rule isn’t instituted, there would be no better year than 2012 in which to do it with next summer’s crop regarded as one of the deepest in recent history.

Mr. Alexander may loath the thought of constructive rebuilding, fearing the affects of such bottom-feeding at the box office.  But if the Rockets continue on their path of mediocrity, the fans will stay away regardless.  A band-aid move like signing Nene could bring wins and a playoff berth, but it would likely also postpone the ultimate end.

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Are the Rockets rethinking their ways?

This from Richard Justice:

Alexander has resisted rebuilding, instead urging Morey to keep adding and to keep the Rockets as competitive as possible. Morey has done a very good job acquiring talent, but not Kobe Bryant-type talent. As the last 2-3 years have played out, the Rockets have become more and more convinced that the draft is the best way to acquire those guys.

Interesting because, to date, Morey has famously avoided rebuilding, holding onto vets (like Luis Scola), in hopes of acquiring a star via trade.  If Justice’s sources are correct, this signals a capitulation of sorts in philosophy.  For many, this would come as a huge relief.

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