So we all know that Chuck Hayes is the undisputed "Veteran" and floor Janitor of this Raps team in 2013 and 2014. Being in the NBA for at least 8 years with no "real talent" or "athleticism" like Val or Ross to begin with, he still is the biggest fan, player, and coach favorite (Van Gundy, Mutombo [I'll count him], Adleman, any opposing coaches) to see the floor. Only 6'6" and actually comfortable playing as Center, he somehow finds ways to stop opposing centers by using his strength, smarts, & great foot speed (ONLY WHEN COMPARED TO CENTERS).
Tonight I find out there might be a factor that Hayes has contributed to the team as soon as he stepped into the ACC on that December 9th day when the Raps came back from LA, even before he touched the court. Chuck Hayes was a teammate of other Toronto Raptors before he donned the Canadian flag. Here's the list:
1) Kyle Lowry, Houston 2009-2011 (Chuck Hayes witness the periodic rise and fall of Lowry during coach Adleman and Herman Munster--McHale, was never an enemy and always a friend in the locker room)
2) Steve Novak, Houston, 2007-2008 (most notably the year of the WIN 22)
3) Patrick Patterson, Houston & Sacramento (2010-2013, big brother figure in the post)
Chemistry is a very important thing to have in a locker room, and Chuck's previous relationship with these players might have given this team an intangible boost no one can see and quantify. I think Chuck was one of the many inviting factors that really helped out Kyle Lowry after Rudy was traded (besides MU's meeting and staying healthy).
It's like your favorite uncle dropping by the house and fixing your messed up furnace free of charge, your marriage with your spouse actually improves with him around, he gives one advice to your kid and he does better in school, and all the stress in the household decreases suddenly.
This is a really blown out guess I made and I have no actual clear-cut evidence that Chuck Hayes was the major difference maker of this FINALLY playoff bound season. Do you think Chuck Hayes made a significant contribution to the club in his own way?