Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun
Tyson Chandler has played 12 seasons in the NBA. Over those 12 seasons he has developed a reputation as a physical rebounder and shot blocker. Thus far in training camp, Chandler has been working to improve his offensive reputation.
The 7-foot-1 Center is coming off his first season as an All Star. Last year Chandler, averaged 10.4 points, and 10.7 rebounds per game. Chandler also had 75 blocks and is considered to be the Knicks defensive anchor.
Chandler shot 63.8 percent from the field last season, but the majority of his points came on putbacks and alley-oops. During the first week of Knicks training camp Chandler has been working to diversify his offensive repertoire. While most of his teammates participated in scrimmages, Chandler was seen practicing his jumper with Knicks coaches.
Chandler repeatedly practiced catching, turning and shooting the ball from the elbow. He also worked on his baseline jumper. Predictably, Chandler missed more shots than he made, but the fact that he is working on his jumper is a good sign. If Chandler can become at least an average jump shooter, the Knicks will become an even more dangerous offensive team.
The Knicks offense became stagnant at times last season. This was not completely Chandler’s fault, but his lack of offensive ability allowed the opposing team’s center to sag off of Chandler and clog the paint. This made it hard for Raymond Felton and other Knicks point guards to penetrate the lane.
The Knicks primarily run the pick and roll on offense with Chandler setting the screen for the ball handler. This offense resulted in many alley oop dunks for Chandler but better teams cut off that option. If Chandler can develop his jumper teams will have to respect it. This will force Chandler’s defender to stay closer to him on the pick and roll, which allows the ball handler to get into the lane for a layup or a kick out to an open shooter.
No one is expecting Chandler to become a deadly shooter. Ultimately, Chandler’s rebounding and defense will be more important to the Knicks as they compete for a title. We have a lot of guys that are defensive-minded and can get after it,” Chandler said. “It’s going to be our defense that puts us over the hump.” The team is stacked with offensive weapons, so Chandler’s offense would be a plus not a necessity.
Chandler was very disappointed at how last season ended. “That’s why all summer what I concentrated on was the weight room and shooting jump shots.” The 2012 defensive player of the year will have to play at his best for the Knicks to compete in the East. If Chandler can provide defensive intensity and knock down an occasional jumper, the Knicks chances will only improve.