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Something Worries Me About Chuck Hayes

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The Rockets can't rebound. I really don't know how else to put it.

Sadly, it's not just opposing bigs who are pulling down boards over our bunch'a midgets. It's also Mike Miller (12 boards last night) and Kobe Bryant (10 the night before). Free-for-all under the rim, folks. Everyone's invited.

We might be short, but when Jermaine Taylor and Mike Harris combine for just two rebounds, as they did against Washington, they hurt more than they help. Harris may have only played five minutes, but Taylor tallied 24. Not sure how zero rebounds in that much playing time happens. Perhaps he's been watching tape of Von Wafer.

The Wizards didn't just give the Rockets fits on the boards, though. Entering the fourth quarter, all but five of their points came in the paint. Had Andray Blatche not gotten hurt, that number might have stayed there. He scored 31 points before injuring his leg.

But really? 62 points in the paint through just three quarters? Sure, the Rockets might be limited in the height and depth department, but we're talking about the Wizards here. We already know they can't shoot threes. We know that Andray Blatche is going to get the ball as often as possible. They're going to attack the paint, and occasionally hope that Mike Miller hits a few threes, and that's it. And after knowing this, 62 points happens?

I like Chuck Hayes, and so do the Rockets. He's a team captain. Nobody saw that coming when we signed him back in 2005. But as good a post defender as he is, he can't play help defense, he can't rebound, and people like Blatche are starting to figure out how to beat him on the block. Dare I say we need a change of scenery at backup center? Maybe. 

Chuck has a team option at the end of the season, and the best part about the Chuckwagon is that he's really, really cheap. Part of what handicaps Daryl Morey from simply going out and getting someone like Marcus Camby is that we gave an enormous amount of money to Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. And now, instead of Tracy, we're paying Kevin Martin big bucks, albeit K-Mart is slightly cheaper. So, in essence, we probably get more out of Chuck than what we pay for, but given our apparent defensive rebounding and help D woes, we may need to look in another direction. Problem is, aside from utilizing the draft, there's really nothing else we can do to upgrade. He's a great backup center, but if the backup sees nearly as much playing time as the starter does (and given Yao Ming's injury history, that's entirely possible next season), then there's a severe drop-off in value.

I really don't know where I'm going with this. I just wish we could rebound. We know Scola can do that quite well, which makes it even more alarming. I really miss Yao Ming.