1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

It's time to show Big E some love!

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by crash5179, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Seeing posts from time to time about who was the greatest power forward of all time or who was the greatest big man in Rockets history got me thinking about Elvin Hayes (Big E). He typically gets left off of those lists or at least usually gets moved closer to the bottom for various reasons. I’m not going to start a thread to try and justify where Elvin Hayes place among the great big men the Rockets should be but instead I just want to focus on who Elvin Hayes was as a player.

    Houston Cougars

    The truth is that I am more than just a little biased towards Elvin because he is a Houston Icon and because he was one of, if not my very first sports hero. His greatness started out with the University of Houston where he averaged 31 PPG and 17 RPG for his career. He led the Cougars to the final 4 in 1967 where he scored 25 points and had 24 rebounds in a losing effort to UCLA and Lew Alcindor. He got a little revenge on the Bruins and Alcindor several months later when he scored 35 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Astrodome in what we know as The Game of the Century. That was the game that put Houston on the basketball map.

    San Diego / Houston Rockets

    In 1968 Elvin Hayes was drafted and started his career for the Rockets while the franchise was in only its second season in existence and still located in San Diego. Elvin Hayes instantly transformed the Rockets from a 15 win team in its inaugural season to a 37 win team in its second season and helped advance the Rockets to its first ever play-off series where they lost to the Atlanta Hawks 2 wins to 4 wins.

    Big E also led the NBA in scoring and was 6th in rebounding as a rookie with averages of 28.1 Points Per Game and 17.1 Rebounds Per Game. No rookie has ever won the scoring title in the NBA again, not Lew Alcindor, Michael Jordan or Shaquille O’Neill. Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan and Joe Folks are the only other rookies to have ever led the NBA in scoring. Folks was the first ever scoring leader in the NBA’s first season in 1947 when the league was still known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA) so technically all the players were rookies. Only Mikan, Chamberlain and Hayes can claim the honor in the league with established players. That’s pretty special.

    Despite being only the 4th rookie to ever lead the NBA in scoring, and despite improving his team’s record by a total of 22 games, and despite leading a franchise into the play-offs in only its second season in existence, Elvin Hayes did not win Rookie of the Year. That honor went to his eventual teammate Wes Unseld. By comparison Unseld helped improve an established Washington Bullets team by 21 wins while Unseld averaged only 13.8 Points Per Game but did finish 5th in rebounding with an average of 18.2 Rebounds Per Game. Wes also won the NBA MVP that season that season while Big E was not even considered.

    To this day I say that Wes winning Rookie of the Year and NBA MVP over Elvin Hayes is one of the worst cases of East Coast Bias there has ever been. Blocked Shots and Steals were not stats that were kept in those days or Elvin would have destroyed Unseld in both categories as Big E was one of the best shot blockers and exceptional at stealing the ball. In the later portion of Big E’s career when they started recording blocks and steals, Elvin Hayes had a high of 3 blocks per game and 1.9 steals per game. Wes Unseld never averaged a block per game…ever, although he did have one season where he averaged 1.6 steals per game but that was an anomaly for him. Big E was always a shot blocker and a ball hawk.


    Here is the Elvin Hayes ‘by the numbers’ bio and how it compares to some other Houston Rockets big men in their time with the Rockets

    Elvin Hayes
    Code:
    YR	Age	Pos	G	MP	TRB	AST	STL	BLK	PTS
    67/68	23	C	82	45.1	17.1	1.4			28.4
    68/69	24	C	82	44.7	16.9	2			27.5
    69/70	25	C	82	44.3	16.6	2.3			28.7
    70/71	26	C	82	42.2	14.6	3.3			25.2
    81/82	36	PF	82	37	9.1	1.8	0.8	1.3	16.1
    82/83	37	PF	81	28.4	7.6	2	0.6	1	12.9
    83/84	38	PF	81	12.3	3.2	0.9	0.2	0.3	5
    									
    
    Moses Malone
    Code:
    YR	Age	Pos	G	MP	TRB	AST	STL	BLK	PTS
    76/77	21	C	80	31.3	13.4	1.1	0.8	2.3	13.5
    77/78	22	C	59	35.7	15	0.5	0.8	1.3	19.4
    78/79	23	C	82	41.3	17.6	1.8	1	1.5	24.8
    79/80	24	C	82	38.3	14.5	1.8	1	1.3	25.8
    80/81	25	C	80	40.6	14.8	1.8	1	1.9	27.8
    81/82	26	C	81	42	14.7	1.8	0.9	1.5	31.1
    
    Ralph Sampson
    Code:
    YR	Age	Pos	G	MP	TRB	AST	STL	BLK	PTS
    83/84	23	C	82	32.8	11.1	2	0.9	2.4	21
    84/85	24	PF	82	37.6	10.4	2.7	1	2	22.1
    85/86	25	PF	79	36.3	11.1	3.6	1.3	1.6	18.9
    86/87	26	PF	43	30.8	8.7	2.8	0.9	1.3	15.6
    87/88	27	PF	19	37.1	9.1	1.9	0.9	1.7	15.9
    
    Hakeem Olajuwon
    Code:
    YR	Age	Pos	G	MP	TRB	AST	STL	BLK	PTS
    84/85	22	C	82	35.5	11.9	1.4	1.2	2.7	20.6
    85/86	23	C	68	36.3	11.5	2	2	3.4	23.5
    86/87	24	C	75	36.8	11.4	2.9	1.9	3.4	23.4
    87/88	25	C	79	35.8	12.1	2.1	2.1	2.7	22.8
    88/89	26	C	82	36.9	13.5	1.8	2.6	3.4	24.8
    89/90	27	C	82	38.1	14	2.9	2.1	4.6	24.3
    90/91	28	C	56	36.8	13.8	2.3	2.2	3.9	21.2
    91/92	29	C	70	37.7	12.1	2.2	1.8	4.3	21.6
    92/93	30	C	82	39.5	13	3.5	1.8	4.2	26.1
    93/94	31	C	80	41	11.9	3.6	1.6	3.7	27.3
    94/95	32	C	72	39.6	10.8	3.5	1.8	3.4	27.8
    95/96	33	C	72	38.8	10.9	3.6	1.6	2.9	26.9
    96/97	34	C	78	36.6	9.2	3	1.5	2.2	23.2
    97/98	35	C	47	34.7	9.8	3	1.8	2	16.4
    98/99	36	C	50	35.7	9.6	1.8	1.6	2.5	18.9
    99/00	37	C	44	23.8	6.2	1.4	0.9	1.6	10.3
    00/01	38	C	58	26.6	7.4	1.2	1.2	1.5	11.9
    
    Otis Thorpe
    Code:
    YR	Age	Pos	G	MP	TRB	AST	STL	BLK	PTS
    88/90	26	PF	82	38.2	9.6	2.5	1	0.5	16.7
    90/91	27	PF	82	35.9	9	3.2	0.8	0.3	17.1
    91/92	28	PF	82	37.1	10.3	2.4	0.9	0.2	17.5
    92/93	29	PF	82	37.3	10.5	3	0.6	0.5	17.3
    93/94	30	PF	72	32.7	8.2	2.5	0.6	0.3	12.8
    94/95	31	PF	82	35.5	10.6	2.3	0.8	0.3	14
    95/96	32	PF	36	33	8.9	1.6	0.6	0.4	13.3
    
    Charles Barkley
    Code:
    YR	Age	Pos	G	MP	TRB	AST	STL	BLK	PTS
    96/97	33	PF	53	37.9	13.5	4.7	1.3	0.5	19.2
    97/98	34	PF	68	33	11.7	3.2	1	0.4	15.2
    98/99	35	PF	42	36.3	12.3	4.6	1	0.3	16.1
    99/00	36	PF	20	31	10.5	3.2	0.7	0.2	14.5
    
    Yao Ming
    Code:
    YR	Age	Pos	G	MP	TRB	AST	STL	BLK	PTS
    2/03	22	C	82	29	8.2	1.7	0.4	1.8	13.5
    3/04	23	C	82	32.8	9	1.5	0.3	1.9	17.5
    4/05	24	C	80	30.6	8.4	0.8	0.4	2	18.3
    5/06	25	C	57	34.2	10.2	1.5	0.5	1.6	22.3
    6/07	26	C	48	33.8	9.4	2	0.4	2	25
    7/08	27	C	55	37.2	10.8	2.3	0.5	2	22
    8/09	28	C	77	33.6	9.9	1.8	0.4	1.9	19.7
    10/11	30	C	5	18.2	5.4	0.8	0	1.6	10.2
    
    
    Two things become obvious when looking at the numbers, Big E spent more time with the Rockets than Barkley, OT, Sampson and Malone. And the other is that Big E was an Iron Man by averaging 42 to 45 minutes a game his first 4 seasons and even averaging 37 minutes a game when he was 36 while only missing 2 games in 7 seasons. That is just unbelievable to me.

    Big E might be one of the most underappreciated big men in the game of all time. I think a big reason for that is because although he spent most of his time playing Power Forward, he gets compared to the great centers of the league like Wilt, Kareem, Moses, Dream and Shaq. I think the other reason is because he played such a large part of his career in Houston and when he was in Washington winning NBA titles, he was overshadowed by the perception of his teammate, Wes Unseld.

    Washington Bullets and Teaming With Wes Unseld

    Wes Unseld was a terrific defensive center but he only averaged 2 double digit scoring seasons while Elvin was on the team. Together Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes formed the best Center / Power Forward combo in the league for half of a decade. Together they led the Bullets to 3 NBA Championship series, losing to Rick Berry and Golden State once, winning against Seattle with Jack Sikma and Gus Williams and then losing to them in the rematch the following season.

    In 1975 when the Bullets won the NBA Championship, Elvin Hays was the leading scorer on the team as he averaged 21 Points Per Game. We Unseld averaged 8 Point Per Game in that same series. Of course Wes Unseld won the MVP and not Elvin Hayes. But I’m not bitter. I don’t think the East Coast Media ever looked at Elvin Hayes as one of their own since his he was drafted and played the first several seasons as a Rocket, first on the West Coast and then in Houston.

    In fairness, Wes Unseld was looked upon as a leader and an elite center and rebounder from the day he was drafted by the Bullets. While Big E was an elite scorer, rebounder, shot blocker and ball hawk as a big man, he was also seen as a bit of a black hole when the ball was passed to him which may have contributed to him being traded from the Rockets in 1972. While he was an elite shot blocker he was not necessarily considered an elite defender (although he is 8th all time in Defensive Wins Shares and led the league 3 times in that category during his career) only making the All-Defensive Team twice and then only on the second team. In today’s game those traits would be considered a small price to pay for the superior production the Rockets and Bullets got from Hayes.

    Hall of Fame

    But Elvin Hayes greatness cannot be denied. He went to the all star game his first 12 seasons in the NBA. He was All-NBA 6 times and 1st team 3 times. He never won the MVP but finished 3rd in voting twice. Big E was All-Defensive 2nd team twice. Big E was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990 and was without question the single best Power Forward of the 1970s and is in the discussion with Bob Pettit, Kevin McHale, Tim Duncan and Karl Malone as the best Power Forward ever IMO.

    It’s time to show Elvin Hayes (The Big E) some love!
     
    #1 crash5179, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
    5 people like this.
  2. coweye

    coweye Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    14
    Speaking of The big E we cant forget about Guy Lewis. This coach coached two big men that were selected No.1 overall. Ironically both were selected by the Rockets. Finally Coach Lewis will get his well deserved place in the Hall of Fame this year.
     
  3. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Didn't Elvin boycott the the HoF until they enshrined Guy V Lewis?
     
  4. meh

    meh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    15,107
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    I generally never really expand on not placing Hayes over a lot of other bigs in these types of discussions because of him being an original Rocket and a UH guy. But since you made a huge thread, I'll mention my biggest issue with him.

    I personally care about defense from the center position. I don't really care too much about it from the wing players, but interior defense has always been a strong consideration of mine when it comes to judging centers. And Hayes fails in this regards miserably. And it's also the one reason why I probably rate Yao higher than most Rockets fans. Because I add Yao's defensive contributions that most fans generally dismiss because of Boozer in the Utah series.
     
  5. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Not really wanting to make this about ranking Elvin Hayes vs other big men since it will just cause player bashing of great players. If you want to rank Yao over Elvin then that's your choice I'm not going to debate it here.

    Ill just leave it at this, Elvin wasn't as bad of a defensive player as you are trying to portray. He has elite at blocking shots and was probably as good or better than any big at stealing the ball prior to Hakeem.
     
  6. meh

    meh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    15,107
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    Then what we disagree on is basically on a player vs. team kind of philosophy. I mainly go by what a player does to help the team win. Not what kind of stats he can put up. I can't imagine a good defensive center ever allow his team to be the worst defensive team in the NBA. But that's more of how I look at things.
     
  7. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 1999
    Messages:
    17,902
    Likes Received:
    2,482
    I don't claim to know what all goes into these advance stats, but I think it's safe to say that you're probably full of **** regarding his defensive prowess, as is often the case it seems.

    Defensive Win Shares for Elvin Hayes:
    1968-69 NBA 6.0 (5th)
    1969-70 NBA 6.2 (3rd)
    1970-71 NBA 7.1 (1st)
    1971-72 NBA 6.5 (6th)

    Defensive Rating for Elvin Hayes:
    1973-74 NBA 88.6 (2nd)
    1974-75 NBA 87.6 (1st)
    1975-76 NBA 91.1 (3rd)
    Career NBA 97.4 (12th)

    Defensive Rebound Pct
    1973-74 NBA 29.7 (1st)

    Steals
    1974-75 NBA 158 (8th)

    Defensive Rebounds
    1973-74 NBA 1109 (1st)
    1974-75 NBA 783 (3rd)
    1975-76 NBA 668 (8th)
    1976-77 NBA 740 (3rd)
    1977-78 NBA 740 (6th)
    1978-79 NBA 682 (6th)
    1979-80 NBA 627 (7th)
    Career NBA 6973 (22nd)

    Blocks
    1973-74 NBA 240 (5th)
    1974-75 NBA 187 (4th)
    1975-76 NBA 202 (3rd)
    1976-77 NBA 220 (2nd)
    1977-78 NBA 159 (8th)
    1978-79 NBA 190 (6th)
    1979-80 NBA 189 (5th)
    1980-81 NBA 171 (8th)
    Career NBA 1771 (21nd)
     
    2 people like this.
  8. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    What are you talking about? The Rockets improved by 22 freekin games because of Big E. In just the 2nd year of the franchise Elvin turned them from a 15 game winner to a play-off team. Elvin led the Bullets to 3 NBA championship series and winning 1.

    Big E made the All-Defensive team twice. Big E is a 12 time all-star, an NBA Champion, etc...

    Are you seriously going to bash Big E? Because it comes off very trollish. Elvin Hayes is a Hall of Fame player for a reason. If winning an NBA championship is not enough for you then you need to change the way you look at things.
     
    #8 crash5179, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  9. coweye

    coweye Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    14
    Yes he did. Its realy a shame that it took realy so long to get Coach Lewis into the Hall of Fame. If he would have coached colleges like UCLA, Michigan etc. He would be introducted long time ago.
     
  10. meh

    meh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    15,107
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    Okay, this will be my last post here because what I thought happened. It went from a discussion of Hayes the Rockets player to Hayes the overall player.

    I don't want to get into a discussion of Hayes the overall player because it was never relevant to the premise of your original post. If you think me a troll, fine. Whatever, I really don't care.
     
  11. Voice of Aus

    Voice of Aus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Messages:
    5,156
    Likes Received:
    408
    I approve of this thread ;)

    He's well above barks, aswelll as OT and the great Yao when discussing on court performance
     
  12. Easy

    Easy Very Calm
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    29,299
    Likes Received:
    11,813
    A little off topic. How do you rank the four greatest players coming out of UH?

    Olajuwon
    Drexler
    Hayes
    Birdsong
     
  13. DarkHorse

    DarkHorse Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    ClutchFans '69-ers in the house.


    tinman fall in a faint
     
  14. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 1999
    Messages:
    17,902
    Likes Received:
    2,482
    Defensive Win Shares for Elvin Hayes as a Rocket:
    1968-69 NBA 6.0 (5th)
    1969-70 NBA 6.2 (3rd)
    1970-71 NBA 7.1 (1st)
    1971-72 NBA 6.5 (6th)

    It's pretty obvious that other relevant defensive stats weren't even kept during his time as a Rocket (blocks, steals, defensive rebounds). In that case I'm wondering how you supposedly know so much about his defense exclusively as a Rocket? Please enlighten us.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    It was relevant to my original post. This is a thread to praise Big E period. Did you even bother to read the post. I explained in the opening paragraph. Even as a Rocket he was an all time great. Sheesh :rolleyes:
     
    #15 crash5179, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  16. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    That about covers it. Rob Williams deserves to be in the conversation though. He was the best player on a team that had Drexler and Dream but of course they were under class men.
     
  17. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    If they had kept stats on blocked shots and steals he would have had a ton. I think it was his 6th season before they even started keeping that stat.
     
  18. solid

    solid Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2001
    Messages:
    17,679
    Likes Received:
    3,856
    One of the greatest basketball players ever. I went to classes at UH with both Elvin and Don Chaney. Really nice guys. They literally dominated most college teams. What an amazing run. He absolutely does not get enough credit. Elvin Hayes was a scoring machine at all levels. Great player, great person.
     
  19. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2000
    Messages:
    16,446
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    I saw a video of the game of the century on YouTube the other day and Don Cheney. Great stuff. I only wish it was as easy to watch basket games then as it is now.
     
  20. aaly1130

    aaly1130 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    8
    See Omer Asik 2012.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now