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Friday, November 6, 2009
World, please notice Chuck Hayes


By Henry Abbott

Chuck Hayes is starting in place of Yao Ming, and the Rockets are 3-2 out of the gates, which makes them just one of 10 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.
Gilbert Arenas
“If I’m guarding, say, LaMarcus Aldridge and I make him shoot a bad percentage, then I hope they pay attention to that. I just wish there was a stat for keeping your man to the lowest field goal percentage.”
(Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images)

How have they had this surprising starless success? At 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. Friedman writes:

“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):