There are only so many seven-footers on the planet and only so many of them play basketball. One of the few is Tyson Chandler who stands 7 feet 1, has arms like cables, and can swat a high-top sneaker quicker than anyone in the league.
After three seasons; one including a defensive player of the year award, and two meh playoff runs with the New York Knicks, Chandler was shipped with Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks.
Health is a problem for a majority of seven-footers, and after Chandler missed more than a month last season with a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula last season there were some glaring questions regarding whether or not him joining the Mavs would be that significant.
Those questions have been answered by a resounding “yes” in the first months of the season.
The team has improved drastically on the offensive end: Dallas has the second-highest Net Rating of any in the league. Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote two weeks ago about them being on pace to smash the all-time league record for scoring efficiency. Head coach Rick Carlisle has engineered a machine of an offense: Dallas ranks in the top five in total field goals, field goal percentage, three-point field goals made, two-point field goal percentage, offensive rating, assists and points.
Chandler ranks sixth in the league in Real Plus-Minus, fourth in rebounds per game and contested rebounds per game, second in field goal percentage, first in Points Per Shot, 13th in blocks, and just him and DeMarcus Cousins rank in the top four for centers in Offensive and Defensive RPM. He has already registered 75 percent of the double-doubles he had last season.
More importantly, Chandler seems to know his role in the flow of the offense.
He knows the hedges of his shooting zone:
He has gone back to predominantly attacking and stationing himself in the right side of the paint, where he shoots a higher percentage and can allow Dirk Nowitzki to have more opportunities to space the perimeter or isolate his matchup.
Tyson Chandler has posted nine seasons with 400+ rebounds and points since 2002-03 and just Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett have tallied more seasons with more than 900 rebounds and 600 points in that same frame. He’s playing at a high level for a team that is streaking through the Western Conference. For some, it has been a sight for sore eyes.
Josh Planos has had his work featured at the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Vice, CBS Sports Radio, Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio. He’s currently a Digital Editor at KETV NewsWatch 7 and a freelance writer. Let him know on Twitter (@JPlanos) how baseless his work is.