Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 at 12:00 pm  |  49 responses

Top 50: Tyson Chandler, no. 34

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn

For Tyson Chandler, things have not come quite as quickly as expected. The No. 2 pick in the 2001 NBA Draft spent time bouncing around to five teams before finding what appears to his ideal situation in New York. Still, he has already played for two coaches with the Knicks and has dealt with some internal turmoil. That didn’t phase Chandler, though.

Maintaining a sense of professionalism and calamity throughout an insane season in New York, Chandler was the team’s rock in the locker room. No matter what was going on with Linsanity, Melo or the coaching situation, Tyson was going to produce.

His averages of 11.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks may not jump off of the page at you, but they were enough to earn him Defensive Player of the Year honors. This award is the epitome of consistency, something that Chicago fans would have never imagined Tyson receiving a decade ago.

Profiled on 60 Minutes as an eighth grader, Tyson Chandler was a “sneaker kid” before they even existed. So-Cal All-Stars coach Pat Barrett (subject of the outstanding book Play Their Hearts Out) made Chandler Nike’s poster child and he was a well-known commodity coast-to-coast before ever playing a high school game.

Four years at powerhouse Compton Dominguez and Chandler was ready for the NBA Draft. In fact, Chandler was so ready for the League coming out of high school that he wasn’t seriously recruited by any major college programs, despite being arguably the top payer in the country.

Given his combination of size, agility and raw talent, some donned Chandler as the best big man since Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. Tyson opted to not participate in the 2001 McDonald’s All-American Game because it could potentially damage his Draft stock and ultimately wound up being picked second overall in the Draft and became (with Eddy Curry) a part of the “Baby Bulls.”

Four up and down seasons in Chicago were filled with flashes of brilliance, spurts of immaturity and a ton of losses. A trade to New Orleans followed, where he and Chris Paul formed the initial version of “Lob City.” Then, for some unbeknownst reason, the Hornets decided to deal Chandler to the Bobcats for Emeka Okafor, who had an even worse contract. An older, wiser Chandler helped lead the lowly Bobcats to the Playoffs in ‘09-10 only to be dealt to the Mavs in the offseason as part of a salary dump. A Championship ring later and Chandler received a four-year, $58 million deal from the Knicks.

While the Knicks were knocked out in the first round of the Playoffs last year by the eventual NBA Champs, the impact that Chandler had was invaluable. Many questioned giving $58 million to a guy who had constantly battled injury issues and had only scored more than 10 points per game twice in his 10 years in the League. What Chandler brought to the Knicks was far more than you could ever expect to see in any box score and was worth every penny of the massive contract that they threw at him.

Having a defensive force like Chandler allowed the Knicks to funnel defenders into the paint, allowing their guards to play tighter defense on the ball and attempt to create more turnovers. Additionally, Chandler proved to be an outstanding help-side defender who would routinely rotate over to draw charges or at least intimidate opposing offensive players who were attacking the rim.

Offensively, Chandler was at his finest during the Linsanity era when he was able to run countless pick and rolls, diving to the basket reminiscent of his New Orleans’ days. Like on the defensive end, he was a constant threat as a roll man because any time that he got the ball going toward the rim it could result in two points. The fact that teams had to guard him made life easier on the perimeter when guys got the rock kicked out to them. Again, something that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet.

After a summer of winning Gold with Coach K in London, Chandler took some time off to get his body right for the start of the season. Injuries will be a concern for the remainder of his career, but for what it’s worth, he has done an outstanding job of building his body up (adding nearly 30 pounds since he’s been in the League) to handle the wear and tear that 82 games brings.

With a new cast of characters in New York, it will be interesting to see how everyone meshes, but the just-turned 30-year-old will serve as the team’s rock. Some have said that the $58 million that the Knicks spent on Chandler was the best money they’ve spent in the last decade and with the impact he’s had, it’s hard to argue with them.

Where should Tyson Chandler rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11
38 John Wall Wizards PG 9
37 Monta Ellis Bucks SG 8
36 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 10
35 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 6
34 Tyson Chandler Knicks C 5

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Good write up Rodger

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Nice job, Rodger. I love the player Tyson has become, but I still put him much lower (48) in my vote because I just think his relative inability to create offense is a real problem. Just look at his “ranking history.” This guy went from unranked to 34 because he won DPOY? He didn’t become THAT much better, at all. But still, a nice, valuable player and a good write up.

  • danpowers

    this inability shouldve improved as he worked out with olajuwon (didnt he do that recently together with stat n melo?).
    maybe he didnt get much better but what he did for ny and the hole he left in dallas defense maybe showed people how valuable his skills are.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you can’t honestly expect anything new from him offensively Dan. He’s been in the NBA 11 years and is literally at the exact same place offensively that he was in when he was drafted, except now he realizes he has nothing to offer away from the rim.

  • spit hot fiyah

    Defense gets some recognition

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Funny… I thought he got the DPoY because no one wanted to give it to Howard… Nice spot for him, but damn he’s not close to Howard in terms of defensive impact.

  • russian guy

    Even a player like him is valuable to any offense with his ability to set picks,move properly and finish strong at the rim.Pair this with an DPOY and you have a player that deserves to be higher than Monroe (at least this year) and Hibbert.

  • JR

    Someone needs to start making memes of these players (and more importantly, thier fans) that think spending 12 hours with the Dream will turn them into an offensive force in the post after not developing a credible offensive game after 15-20+ years of highly organized and competitive basketball (see: Tyson, Javalee)

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Agreed. He’s been setting solid picks and rolling to the rim for several years now. He hasn’t been doing anything more or less. I think the main reason people are hyping him is due to him winning a title and the DPOY.

  • 23

    Yep, Tyson was the Dpoy, yet he wasn’t even on the All nba First defensive team!

  • 23

    Is Tyson Chandler the first player to win DPOY and not be named to the All NBAs Defensive 1st team?

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Exactly, I mean couldn’t the L just stop beating around the bush and just come out and say “Suck it Dwight” instead…

  • rainman

    Another question: Whats the lowest Blocks per game a Big man has ever gotten the year they won DPOY? 1.4 might be it, or close to it at least

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Don’t know about him being this high seeing as how he has no offense other than catching alley oops and getting put backs.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the only reason dwight didn’t win the 4th dpoy award is because a: he was injured a third of the season and b: everybody was hating on him for his shenanigans last year. kinda like lebron 2010 mvp that they decided to give to Rose cause of the decision

  • Caboose

    If Tyson is this high, shouldn’t Serge be even higher? Either way, I like the write-up, REALLY don’t like the ranking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    Serge Ibaka was the rightful DPOY, anyway. I’m still pissed about that.

  • Junior Taylor

    TC has become overrated in my eyes. He rightfully was one of the reasons why the Knicks improved defensively but it wasn’t just because of him. A rook Shrump played as huge a role of why the Knicks became a good defensive team due to his ability to lockdown the perimeter.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Loved the write up!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    why would Serge be higher? Tyson is clearly the better defender and Serge really only does one thing extremely well and doesn’t understand his limitations. As good as Serge can look (that 11 for 11 game 4 against San Antonio) he can be dreadful and really isn’t great at anything but blocking shots from the weak side. Shit, he oly averages 7.5RPG w/ only 27MPG.

  • Peter Walsh

    Multiple complaints that Top 50 has ignored defense…put a player known strictly for his defense and get even more jabber…Are you not entertained?

  • russian guy

    Chandler made a team consisting of defenders like Amare,JR,Lin,Carmelo a top 10 defense in the league.That is validates his award pretty well Id say.

  • danpowers

    nobody expects anything extraordinarily new from him. as far as i understood it they worked more on their spacing and how they move when on court together. and solely by being mobile and a nice pick and role player on offense and not doing things that he isnt capable off id rather have him on my offense than a guy like okafor. in other words he is not hurting the offense and quite effective by not trying to do things he isnt good at.

  • Caboose

    Mostly exaggeration, but can we really say Tyson had much of an impact last year? I guess I’m just trying to say that I can’t understand why Tyson could possibly be thought to have a better next season than Hibbert.

  • danpowers

    to be honest im not so sure about ranking him higher than hibbert. im really a fan of chandler as you can read below but better than hibbert? not so sure

  • keyon dooling

    as a Cs fan, LeBron REALLY should have gotten DPOY last year. Kind of a shame frankly

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i mean the Knicks did have a top defense despite trudging out 3 of the worst defenders at their positions (Lin – Melo – Stat) in the league for over half the season just with the additions of Chandler and Shumpert. — His impact was pretty pronounced….I mean, he did hold his opponent to a PER of 12.6 and was a member of all 20 of their best lineups – http://www.82games.com/1112/11NYK16.HTM

  • Mr. Wet

    I think this rank seems high, but only because he might have been undervalued in the past.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i believe it is

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    You don’t watch Serge enough, I’m guessing. The only reason the dude isn’t scoring 15 ppg is because he plays for the Thunder. He can be a real threat offensively if you let him shoot mid-range jumpers, and I agree that his defense isn’t always fundamental (i.e. jumping at EVERYTHING), but to be ranked behind Tyson Chandler? I agree with what people said on the Tyson Chandler post about his stock suddenly rising just because he won DPOY.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    The reason dude isn’t scoring 15ppg is because he is not reliable enough to be given the amount of shots it would take to score 15ppg. If you are going to score that many points being primarily a pick and pop player (despite his athleticism, only half of his shots are at the rim or in the paint. and he is surprisingly barely more efficient then most PG’s in that area (shoots 70% at the rim while just 42% from within 9 feet).
    And despite popular belief, he is often a liability on defense because he floats away from his assignment, is poor defending the high screen and roll, jumps at every fake (as you said), and doesn’t box out or rebound nearly effectively enough given his natural gifts and position.
    So I believe it is you who doesn’t watch enough Serge Ibaka, or you just don’t know how to recognize what it is you are watching.

  • ripslam

    Not sure if the author knows what ‘calamity’ means.

    Also, it’s ‘faze’, not ‘phase’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    He’s certainly not perfect, but I think he’s much better than Chandler, who to me is (and you’re going to completely disagree with this) a glorified Nick Collison. He goes in and runs the screen and roll very well, gets easy points when he has the chance, and is a solid all around player on offense. Now defensively is where he’s obviously better than Collison, but is he really THAT much better to warrant a ranking at 34? I just don’t see it. Meanwhile you have a guy like Serge who can give you 3 bpg, transition buckets just like Chandler, and actually has more ability on offense than just catching an oop.

  • MackAtttack

    I strongly believe part of the reason he won the DPOY this year with the Knicks was because people recognized how much of an impact he had leaving Dallas without a legitimate starting center. New York was NEVER a good defensive team under D’Antoni and it wasn’t even until Mike Woodson took over the the Knicks had legit defensive schemes to pair with Tyson’s abilities. I’m glad he got his recognition, though. And speaking of ideal situations… He was a PERFECT fit as D anchor for my Mavs and alongside Dirk.

  • spit hot fiyah

    i also caught the very strange usage of calimity right there

  • spit hot fiyah

    shrump, related to schremph?

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Overrated. What is the big deal with this guy? Number 35 for hustle alone? SMH. His defence is above average, but he is not smart on help side rolls, doubles, flashes etc. etc.. agreed?

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    Are u serious? did that happen? ***checks*** it did… holy shit! WTF???

  • http://www.facebook.com/qcollingwood Interdico Scriptor

    How can that happen?

  • Yes

    Except Nick can shoot better than Chandler also. That midrange is pretty money for Nick.

  • Yes

    The Thunder were a top defensive team when they started Jeff Green at power forward…

  • Yes

    Lol. I think so. Funny how second in DPOY voting made All-NBA Defensive 1st team. Doesn’t even make sense.

  • Max

    When you work out with Hakeem, it’s like working out in the time chamber in Dragon Ball Z..
    1 day equals 1 year, so Tyson worked out with Hakeem for half a year.
    He’ll average 30 a game easily.

  • Max

    And Dwight didn’t do that?

  • Lorne

    They’re both related to Shumpert, so possibly.

  • danpowers

    oh my. i just saw the last quater of that exhibition game and chandler actually tried to post up a couple of times. he better not do that during the season and let olajuwon give him his money back lol

  • Hursty

    Soooo, if Tyson was 48 in Ben’s vote, it means someone else was seriously gassed up on Chandler (low 20′s possibly to average it out)…

  • Drig