The Kings’ big free agent splash of the 2011 offseason, that wasn’t, that was again – only a million dollars richer thanks to some spotty medical testing, will be back for the ’12-13 and do so looking much healthier according to initial reports.
Chuck Hayes’ first season with the Sacramento Kings was far from picture perfect as the Modesto native not only dealt with a nagging shoulder injury, but a self admitted lack of conditioning. The result was a weight gain that stunted many of Hayes’ attributes that at one time, made the former Wildcat one of the NBA’s best big man defenders. Between the two situations, Hayes’ season was lost before it could really ever start as he attempted to play catch up in the lockout shortened season.
A renewed vigor has Hayes looking much svelter as the undersized big spent much of his offseason working out on new training programs which included tennis, yoga, swimming and bike riding. Still, it shouldn’t fall on deaf ears that Hayes, one of the few veterans on the team, was noticeably absent from the “voluntary” player sponsored offseason workouts in Sacramento this Summer where nearly all but Hayes and fellow vet John Salmons participated. Granted, players do have a life outside of the game, but you’d have hoped that Hayes (along with Salmons) could’ve been able to participate with the rest of the team for a few days in the middle of their offseason.
With the addition of rookie Thomas Robinson, along with the growth of DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson, Hayes’ rotational spot is not guaranteed – so what type of impact do we here at A Royal Pain expect from the Modesto Christian graduate?
Scott - Chuck Hayes was largely disappointing in his first year in Sacramento. The undersized center was out of shape all season, and his struggles to finish around the basket clearly outweighed his contributions defensively on most nights. With Thomas Robinson now in the fold, Hayes should be relegated to fourth big man status, playing occasionally when a stout man-to-man defender is needed. It would be disappointing if Hayes stole more than 10-15 minutes a game from the Kings young frontline players.
Marilyn - Chuck Hayes was born in San Leandro, California; he is a 29-year-old former University of Kentucky player. He has had his ups and downs in the league, beginning with not being selected in the 2005 NBA Draft. He averaged 4.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 20 minutes per game over his seven year career – six with the Houston Rockets. Last season was his first with the Sacramento Kings. It was a disappointment, to say the least. I think Hayes would agree. He came into training camp out-of-shape. Then, eight games into the season he dislocated his shoulder. It was a very unfortunate injury, especially with a shortened season. When he came back, his conditioning took a further hit from his time off to recover. Wipe the slate clean. This is a new season, with a greater emphasis on defense from Head Coach Keith Smart and Assistant Coach Clifford Ray. Let’s hope he put the time in on his conditioning, as he claims, and is ready to contribute on the court.
Bryan - I initially liked the Hayes signing and still do, despite the high price tag. Unfortunately, nobody could’ve predicted the future that resulted in Thomas Robinson falling to the Kings, but Hayes – out of shape or not – is a solid veteran to learn from, which is great for the Kings youthful front line. I can see Hayes taking away some of Robinson’s time early in the season, but post All-Star break my guess is Hayes becomes regulated to pure backup status. While not exactly an albatross of a contract, Chuck’s deal isn’t exactly an easy one to move so the Kings will need to make the best of the situation and even though Hayes might think differently, 12-15 minutes a game is where Hayes is most effective. With health on his side and a more fitting role than last year, I think Hayes will have a solid season which is all you can really ask given his talent levels.