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What do you expect from Tyson Chandler this season?
Joe Caporoso - My primary concern with Tyson Chandler is his health. He is a 7 footer who has been in this league a long time and plays a very physically demanding style of basketball. When healthy he is a terrific defensive anchor and strong finisher around the basket. When unhealthy…well, just watch the Pacers series from last year. Unfortunately, the Knicks lack depth behind Chandler unless Jeremy Tyler grows up very fast or they are going to play Kenyon Martin at Center for extended periods of time. They must find a balance of resting Chandler enough, without it negatively impacting their positioning in the standings during the regular season. The Knicks need Chandler as close to 100% as possible in the playoffs or they will have a tough time getting any further than they did last season.
Chris Celletti - At this point in his career, you know exactly what you’re getting from a healthy Tyson Chandler. Some people are possibly still upset over his postseason flameout, but isn’t it pretty clear that he wasn’t healthy at all? When have you seen the veteran Tyson Chandler play that way for an extended period of time? I expect we’ll see Chandler back to his very good regular season level from the past two seasons once again in 2013. He’ll defend, rebound and throw down a lot of vicious alley-oops. It’s true that Chandler is a one-dimensional offensive player. He has no back-to-the-basket game and can’t make anything outside of arm’s length. It’s a genuine flaw, and one that does hinder the Knicks’ offense at times. Yet complaining about it is, at this point, a lost cause. He’s not going to develop an offensive game at this stage of his career, but the Knicks do remain a functioning offense when he is on the floor (114 points per 100 possessions last season, according to 82games.com). I wouldn’t expect a sea change either way.
Kevin Smith - Any doubts about my respect for Tyson Chandler can be answered here. Despite the fact that he last left us with a sour taste in our mouths, I think fans will soon forget about the atrocious playoff performance and re-embrace this team’s best interior defender once again. Fans in this city are suckers for players who bring toughness and tenacity night in and night out, and Chandler will bring it just like he has in his first two years in New York. Unfortunately, his reckless style of play means there’s little chance that he lasts a full 82 games. I hope the Knicks learned their lesson about overplaying Chandler in the regular season and give him reasonable rest leading in to the playoffs, but on a team lacking rebounders, it will be hard to limit his minutes. Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will put up his usual double-double average and be amongst the league leaders in incessant whining to the referees.
Tim Murray - Tyson Chandler may have left Knicks fans frustrated as the Pacers moved on to play the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals but his play in the playoffs was 100% a reflection of his health status as opposed to his skill. Chandler is both a dominating defensive force in the paint and a heavily respected veteran and NBA Champion. If his health has fully returned with the months of rest provided by the offseason you can hold him to that standard every single game he plays.
A key difference between this season and last season however is the extremely tough competition Chandler and his risk for injury will face during an already tough 82-game season. Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez are a tough trio of centers the Knicks have had to face but now add Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson and a potentially healthy Greg Oden into the mix. My one expectation for Tyson Chandler this season is that he stay conscious of his physical style of play, health and value to the team since day one because if he overworks himself and cannot give 100% when it matters, well…we have already seen what happens.