Now that some of the dust has settled in regards to the NBA Draft, free agency and the Knicks’ much-discussed acquisition of Andrea Bargnani, we’re going to take some time to go back to our Player Season Review series. We have a few of the big guns left, starting today with Tyson Chandler.
Did you know Tyson Chandler had one of the best offensive seasons, ever? That statement may sound a bit misleading, and it’s kind of ironic because people don’t really think of Tyson Chandler as much of an offensive player.
But according to basketball-reference.com, Chandler’s 132.99 offensive rating (points produced per 100 possessions) from last year is an NBA single-season record (the site’s data for this metric goes back to 1977-78). In looking a bit further, Chandler has actually led the league in this stat each of the past three seasons. It’s worth noting that this category is often led by a big man, and not always one who is thought of as an offensive player. For instance, Andris Biedrins led the league in 2007-08, P.J. Brown somehow did in 2002-03.
Regardless, what this tells us is that if you’ve have Tyson Chandler on your team the past three seasons, you’re going to have a pretty good offense. Thankfully, the Knicks have had him for the past two. This season especially, the Knicks were a very good, efficient offense.
This is all very interesting data, but it still doesn’t actually make people think of Chandler as an offensive player, right? The data proves that his presence is going to help his team score a lot of points. He does some things that certainly directly effect this cause — he became a deadly pick-and-roll finisher this season in tandem with Raymond Felton, and the Knicks were a much better offensive rebounding team with him on the floor. But he was the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and so his value must be on that end of the floor, right? In fact, the Knicks were a slightly worse defensive team with him on the floor this season (allowing 107.4 points per 100 possession with him on floor as opposed to 107.2 without him, per 82games.com).
The point here isn’t to say that Chandler has become the league’s best offensive player and a crappy defensive one or any absurdity like that. But it’s worth noting that what we usually think of Chandler is worth reconsidering. As we look towards next season, it’s reasonable to expect that the Knicks will be a very good offensive team, especially when Chandler is on the floor.
The numbers: 32.8 mpg, 10.4 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 18.9 PER
Statistically (both in the standard and advanced relams), Chandler had a very productive season. In this sense, he’s actually been one of the best big men in the league for the past three seasons. Chandler often has flown under the radar in that time, and I don’t think this season was any exception. You just often don’t hear much about Chandler, individually. I’m sure he doesn’t have much of a problem with that, and neither do we.
Best moment: Chandler had a couple of stretches during the season that are worth pointing out specifically. In an 11-game stretch from Dec. 26 through Jan. 21, Chandler averaged 11.4 pts and 13.8 rebs. Perhaps one of the reasons that Chandler was a bit under-appreciated this season is because some of his best stretches, like the one we just mentioned, came when the Knicks as a team were struggling a bit; they only went 5-6 in those 11 games. Not long after, Chandler grabbed 60 rebounds total in three consecutive games, nabbing 20 apiece on February 1st, 2nd and 4th. It’s really hard to pick out a single moment that was Chandler’s brightest of the season, which kind of sums him up quite well. He was just consistently very good, until…
Lowest moment: …until he got hurt. People started to sour a bit on Chandler in the playoffs, especially in the series loss to the Pacers. And to be fair, he was pretty badly outplayed by Roy Hibbert. Chandler didn’t look himself during the postseason, and it’s fair to think that he wasn’t himself because he was injured. Of course, Chandler isn’t the type of guy to make it apparent that he’s hurt, but I think it’s pretty clear that he played through some pain late in the season and it affected him in the playoffs, whether or not he was still hurt or was just “off” because of it.He averaged 5.7 pts and 7.3 rebounds in the playoffs, with a 12.8 PER. It’s such a precipitous drop from his regular season production that I don’t think you can just cough it up to choking.
All in all: Chandler had a very good season, again. his first two seasons as a Knick have been really everything you could have asked for from him. This past season proved how valuable he is on both ends of the floor. When he clearly wasn’t right, in big games where the Knicks could have used him at 100%, the team struggled. Chandler has two more years on his current contract, and if he gives the Knicks similar seasons to what he’s given them in his first two, I think you’d be mistaken not to sign up for that right now.