The third best center in Wizards history is Elvin Hayes
In a way, the Wizards should have sent a bottle of champagne to the Houston Rockets and their coaching staff.
It was made known that Elvin Hayes had issues with Rockets coach Tex Winter. So, on June 23, 1972, he was traded to the Wizards for small forward Jack Martin and undisclosed considerations.
What a trade that turned out to be.
Before joining the Wizards, the scoring duties were held primarily by Archie Clark, Jack Marin, Earl Monroe, and Unseld.
When Hayes joined them, it all changed. He averaged a team-high 21 points in his first season there, but he did work on the glass, as well. He averaged 14 rebounds for the Wizards, one behind Unseld’s 15.
Hayes helped the Wizards make eight playoff appearances and when they got there, he didn’t stop.
His best playoff performance came in 1974 when the Wizards lost to the New York Knicks in the first round 4-3. He averaged 25.9 points and 15 rebounds per game, both career-bests.
Hayes best games, however, were Game 1 and Game 6. In Game 1, he put up incredible scoring numbers, recording 40 points and 14 rebounds. But in Game 6, he did a lot of his work on the glass. He still led the team in scoring with 31 points, but he also had 23 rebounds.
In 1978, Hayes, along with Bob Dandridge, led the Wizards to their first championship in franchise history. He averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds in their title run but his best game was during the regular season.
On Mar. 3, 1978, he recorded a career-high 11 blocks in a 124-108 victory against the Detroit Pistons.
Even though the Wizards lost to the Supersonics in the Finals the following year, Hayes had one of his best playoff games in terms of pure work in the paint.
During Game 3, he set a Finals record with 11 offensive rebounds. That mark hasn’t been broken but tied twice by Chicago Bulls’ power forward Dennis Rodman in 1996, coincidentally against the Supersonics.
After the 1980-81 season, Hayes requested to be traded back to the Rockets with desires to finish his career there. Nevertheless, once he retired, his jersey was displayed in the Wizards’ rafters.
He still holds the Wizards’ all-time leading spot in points with 15,551 and blocks with 1,558.