Knicks Player Capsule: A Tale of Two Tysons
Added by Michael McCloskey on February 8, 2013.
Every athlete has the capability to perform to their fullest potential. Every athlete has the capability to slump and expose their flaws.
Playing in New York City means all of the above is on center stage.
Remember that the Knicks have not won a championship in 40 years.
Our fans are ruthless and relentless. We demand perfection. Just ask Jeter or Mariano.
Every athlete can get injured and the best ones can play through it. Just ask Kobe Bryant.
Some athletes are motivated by failure and criticism while others can’t take it.
The best athletes find a way for their team to win at any costs. Again, talk to Kobe.
Others stuff their stat lines to get that max contract. Just ask Jose Reyes.
I like to think of every athlete as a split personality disorder patient. Athletes come from all walks of life, but over the course of their careers they all suffer from the same condition. Great athletes can overcome their weaknesses and propel themselves to greatness like Jordan. Others self-destruct or fail to perform.
Each week we will be examining the two sides of a New York Knick.
This week’s patient: Tyson Chandler.
Tyson Chandler (Al Bello/Getty Images)
At this point in Tyson’s career it seems as if he has been fairly successful in controlling Angry Tyson and thriving as Coachable Chandler. Nevertheless, let’s look at the facts and see how he made this transition.
Tyson does have a few “No-Remedy Weaknesses”.
Throughout his career he has without debate been injury prone. Chandler has had back problems particularly in 2003-2004 season. He struggled with injuries again in Charlotte in 2009, missing more than a month of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. Although he defended Dwight Howard in the playoffs and limited him to 9 points and 9 rebounds per game Charlotte was still swept in the first round.
Tyson’s inconsistency on the boards has been another weakness, dating back to his poor playoff performances with the Bulls which lead to them signing 4 Time Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Wallace.
Getting in foul trouble as well as involvement with on court altercations has been an issue for the All-Star as well. When he first started with the Bulls Chandler’s playing time was limited due to altercations, most notably with Brendan Haywood and current teammate Amar’e Stoudemire. In the 2005-2006 Season foul trouble limited him so severely that he only recorded 5.3 points per game. More recently he was ejected for tangling with Joakim Noah with 4:55 left in the fourth quarter of a December 2012 matchup against the Chicago Bulls.
Local NBA expert, and resident of Metuchen, New Jersey, Andrew Barth, made a point to remind me that Chandler has lack of versatility in the post especially with his back to the basket. However, he made it clear that due to the Knicks Center’s incredible efficiency this is a flaw that is easily remedied. Chandler has overcome his “Remedy Weakness” by recording historic shooting percentages. Back in his days with Chris Paul in New Orleans, the pair connected on 107 alley-oop dunks, 70 more than their closest competition. In June of 2011 the Mavs recorded the second best record in the Western Conference, with Tyson shooting 65.4% and averaging 10.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Last year he finished the season with a 67.9% field goal percentage. This was the third highest in NBA history, second to Wilt Chamberlin with 68.26% in ‘67 and 72.7% in ‘73
Today Tyson Chandler is one of the most dynamic players in the NBA.
His career highlights include the Chicago Bulls 2004-2005 playoff run, where he made clutch 4th quarter blocks against Paul Pierce and current teammate Carmelo Anthony, leading to the signing of a $63 Million contract with the team.
When the Bulls traded him to the Hornets in 2006 he had a breakout season, recording 9.5 points 12.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. The next season he recorded 10.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, leading the league in offensive rebounds. The Crescent City Connection was in full swing as the Hornets won the Southwest Division for the first time in franchise history.
When facing the Mavs in the playoffs, the scouting report said “very talented but if you attack they’ll back down”. After the season ended, the Mavs picked up Chandler to solve that problem. The 7 footer held his ground and was a dominant inside presence for a championship defense that would no longer back down under his leadership. After sweeping the Lakers, knocking off OKC and defeating Miami in the Finals, Chandler emerged into the player he’s supposed to be. “After having a few tough years, some injury troubles and considering himself a bust, Tyson really emerged as one of the league’s best centers” according to local NBA expert, and resident of Lloyd Harbor, New York, Sam Kaplan.
In 2011 Chandler signed a 4-year deal with the New York Knicks, reportedly worth nearly $58 million. In his first season with the Knicks he posted 11.3 points and almost 10 rebounds per game and received the honor of the Defensive Player of the Year Award. This season he has been selected as a reserve for the 2013 All-Star Game. This is his first appearance. Not surprisingly, business mogul billionaire Marc Cuban has been quoted saying he felt he made a “mistake” letting Chandler go.
But even still, after his selection to the game his play started to slack. His inconsistency reared it’s ugly head. But Chandler responded this time. He is tried and true. His growth and maturity as a player has allowed him to be motivated by failure and criticism. This time, Chandler took the words of his head coach to heart.
“When you’re voted as an All-Star, I mean that’s how you’ve got to play each time you step out on the floor. There’s no excuse.” Said Woodson. “I took his advice,” Chandler said.
“I’m going to chase every rebound regardless of whether I get it or not,” Chandler said after last Monday’s game. “I’m really going after the ball every single time. I’m not taking a possession off.”
Following his talk with Woodson, Chandler recorded 20 rebounds in three consecutive games. He is only the fourth Knick to accomplish this joining Walt Bellamy, Johnny Green and Willis Reed. In a recent interview with Newsday, the 70 year old Reed was quoted saying Tyson is “…a great team player, a great teammate”. Lately Chandler is enthusiastic and team-oriented. He’s a fantastic leader who brings championship experience to the table. With him performing at his full potential, Reed seems to think the Knicks have the pieces to be considered contenders and compete with Miami in the East.
Last week we saw Chandler slip, but this week we saw him bounce back. Which Tyson will we see next time, when a Tale of Two Tysons returns.