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.