Washington Wizards: 15 greatest scorers of all-time

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images /
12 of 16
Elvin Hayes, Washington Bullets
Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images /

Alongside fellow hall of fame big man Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes played a vital role in Baltimore/Washington’s consistently stingy defense throughout most of the 1970s. However, while Unseld handled most of the defensive heavy lifting — along with some good passing — Hayes served as the primary post scorer.

Suffice to say, Hayes was up to that task. The Bullets acquired the big man in a 1972 trade with the Houston Rockets and he immediately paid dividends, averaging 21.2 points on 44.4 percent shooting along with 14.5 rebounds per game.

While that field goal percentage is a bit alarming for a big man, it was likely due to the number of mid-range shots he took, as Hayes had a pretty smooth shooting form for a player that size, especially back then.

Hayes would put up double-double averages for the next eight seasons in Washington, as his efforts helped lead the Bullets to three Finals appearances and one championship. His 21.3 points per game rank him seventh on the franchise’s all-time list, while his 15,551 cumulative points are the most all-time among Bullets/Wizards.

He was even better in the playoffs, as he put up 23.0 points per game in 87 playoff appearances, including a 21.8 points per game postseason during Washington’s championship run in 1978.

Basketball Reference’s Similarity Score metrics rank Hayes’ career in the same category as the likes of John Havlicek, Detlef Schrempf, Pau Gasol and Paul Pierce. None of those players were ever considered the best at their respective positions, but they all cultivated solid resumes through years of consistent production, which best describes Hayes’ time with Washington.