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30Q: Will We Get the Chuck Hayes We Wanted?

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2011-12 Statistics:

54 Games Played, 19.2 MPG, 3.2 PPG, .429 FG%, 4.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.7 STL, 0.3 BLK

Contract Status:

3 years, $17.2 million remaining

The Kings don't usually make big splashes in Free Agency. However there was room to believe that the team had made a very nice and astute decision last summer by signing veteran Forward-Center Chuck Hayes to a mid-level deal. Hayes was set to come in and bring leadership, defense and veteran savvy.

However Hayes' season was marred from the start. First came the news that he had been diagnosed with a heart condition, which nullified his original signing and to miss training camp. Then, after he was given a clean bill of health from an outside heart specialist, he dislocated his shoulder early in the season. By the time he came back, he was noticeably out of shape and never really got into a great rhythm. The question is, which Hayes will we get this season and for the years to come?

Statistically, last year was one of the worst for Chuck in his career. Not known as much of a scorer, Hayes still managed to be somewhat efficient over the years, shooting around 50% for most of his career. That dropped to just 42.9% in Sacramento. He scored in double digits just once the entire year. I think a lot of this offensive inefficiency can be attributed to his shoulder injury, which nagged him all season. Still, we aren't looking for Chuck to score, but to bring defense, toughness and rebounding.

Defensively, Hayes did show what he could bring to the table. While not tall (he's roughly the same height as Tyreke Evans), Hayes still manages to frustrate the hell out of opposing forwards and centers. He can stay low to the ground and has above average lateral quickness. According to MySynergySports, Hayes easily was the best individual defender on the Kings last season and one of the better in the league, even with his injuries. 40.3% of his defensive possession were on post-ups, where he allowed just 0.71 Points Per Possession on 36.6% from the field. Another big area was in Isolation (15.7% of the time) and he allowed just 0.41 PPP on 18.5% shooting, 2nd in the league. So at least defensively, Hayes brings a lot to the table.

When the Kings signed Hayes, his passing was highly touted as well. While he is an above average passer for a big man, he also turns it over quite a bit. Last season, Hayes had an assist rate of 10.4%. However his turnover rate was nearly double at an atrocious 21.1%. That is not a number you want from someone that is supposed to be operating as a passer from the high post.

With just 4 real big men on the roster, Hayes will have plenty of opportunity to redeem himself after last season. He'll need to bring the rest of his game in line with his defense so that he's not a liability in those areas. He'll also need to be in much better shape, and that goes without saying.

Here's hoping Chuck can turn it around and become an asset to this team.