The Knicks renaissance is in full swing with the emergence of Jeremy Lin, but Linsanity hasn't been the only reason for the Knicks' recent improvement.
Center Tyson Chandler has been an ever-present so far this season and has almost single-handedly transformed the defense from a perennial bottom-dweller to a solid outfit.
In a team that boasts three players who, let's be frank here, are terrible on defense as their superstars (Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin, just to be clear), Chandler's task has not been an easy one.
Chandler's stats aren't too impressive through 35 games this season, but it's the team stats that need to be looked at. This year the Knicks are conceding only 94.1 points per game and, compared to last year's average of 105.7, that's an improvement of 11.6 points. To give you an idea of just how big a difference that is, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the only team to have a larger swing in points allowed per game between the last two seasons, with a change of 12.1 on average.
Going back to Chandler's stats, his lack of blocks can simply be attributed to the fact that players aren't willing to inside on the Knicks knowing that Chandler is there to stop them. Chandler's win score, a measure of how valuable each his statistics are, is 12.01, good for a top 5 position in the NBA. Of course, the win score also includes his offensive statistics, but it also factors in his blocks, rebounds and steals.
To delve any further into looking at Chandler's defensive value, you simply need to watch the Knicks play. Stats only show so much, and what they won't necessarily say is that Chandler, along with the help of Mike Woodson, has completely changed the attitude in New York.
Outside of Chandler, there really aren't many better defensive players in the league. Dwight Howard is the obvious candidate once again to bring home the Defensive Player of the year Award, but if the voters decide to go in a different direction, don't be surprised if our man Chandler wins it. Considering the negative effect Howard has had on his team in terms of trade talk and his attitude towards teammates, one could argue that Chandler has even been better than Howard as far as their individual teams are concerned. Besides, when you brush aside individual statistics, the Knicks actually have a better defensive efficiency than Orlando (97.2 compared to 98.5) and their opponent's turnover rate is higher than Orlando's as well, as the Knicks rank second in the NBA in that category with 16.47.
Any way you look at it, Chandler certainly has to be in the discussion, but his performance in the second half will determine whether or not he'll eventually win the award.
What do you think, fanatics? If the season ended today would Chandler be your Defensive Player of the Year?
All stats are from ESPN and Hoopdata
Great read Ciaran! He has brought some stability to the Hole without a doubt. If he would work on a hook and a turnaround from about 10 to 15 feet, or even a Face-up Jumper, he would be a beast... Compared to what we've had in the past few years, he is definitely an UPGRADE...
Keep it POPPIN!
Well done Ciaran. Tyson Chandler has done all as advertized: a bedrock anchor on defense, contriubuting with shot blocks, taking charges and rebounds. As he further develops chemistry with Lin and Melo, he will contribute more to the offense -- including pic n rolls, ally oops and put-backs. That Chandler puts out grit and intensity every time out is a further plus for the team. Grunwald made the right move in attaining Tyson.
Also, please take the time to read an article I did on Bleacher Report, about the best Knicks appearances in All-Star Weekend history: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1078003-nba-all-star-game-2012-the-top-5-knicks-all-star-appearances-of-all-time
It gets shown every time I turn on the Knicks TV coverage, but Chandler has the best shooting percentage in the NBA with 70%. He improved his offense dramatically in Dallas and now we're reaping the benefits.
As for the "grit and intensity", that's exactly why I love Chandler. He's my favourite player on the Knicks by a country mile. It looks to me like he's the real leader on this team.
Grunwald, in my eyes, has done a great job with almost every signing this past off-season. Chandler, Lin, Novak and now Smith are all looking good to say the least. The only blemishes are Bibby and Davis but, as minimum contract players, you can't fault the thought process behind signing the two of them.
@Post_up_Prince Yep. I've said it when the trade went down that it was a good move. Time is bearing it out. What I don't like about Chanlder is that he appears easily cajoled into committing technical fouls that hurt his team. Does anyone one think that trading Melo, STAT and Chandler for Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu is just some more MSM BS from Peter Vescey. I'm tired of it. Build this team up coach em up develop chemistry and recover from the wounds of the 1st half of the season.
I personally think that STAT should get more touches early on in the P&R while in the game with Chandler. That said I also think STAT should be the first man to head to the bench and the first starter back to run with the 2nd unit in heavy doses of P&R action with Baron Davis. Right now Lin is proving to be a failure of setting STAT up where he needs to. Lin is succeeding with Chandler. But STAT needs some one to get him going. If Lin can't do it and Davis proves better at integrating the key scorers into the offense then Lin must take a back seat to Baron. Hasn't happened yet and we'll see how much better LIn is with Melo and STAT. He is not the star (Lin) but one of the four bedrocks of this team, still he needs to orchestrate better-- turnovers and all.
Good stuff Ciaran.. it's not like your self-promoting!
Davis is not a blemish yet, but Bibby is a full blown oil spill. The Knick-Bibby relationship crashed like the Exxon Valdez when the pen met his contract.
I'm not so sure that Chandler improved his offense. Maybe it was his shot selection, because now all I see are dunks and lay ins under the basket. It's fairly tough to miss those shots 50% of the time. If our ballhandlers notice him more while he is free beneath the hoop, he will score even more points.
@Orange_and_Blue Lin has had little opportunity to work with Stat, Chandler and Melo on the court at the same time. Nor have those four had the opportunity to practice together until this week. Let's see what five-six days of practice this week can do to get the team in sync on both ends of the floor. The Knicks play Cleveland on Wed 2/29, but the team will get a better test on Sunday, March 4th when they play Boston in Bean Town. LGK
@Orange_and_Blue @Post_up_Prince Chandler just takes out his intensity on the refs. He looks like a pretty calm guy in interviews but as soon as he gets on the court he transforms. We've seen him headbutt balls, chase Kris Humphries and, most commonly, shout at the referees. I can't fault him for being intense but it will come back to bite him as the season progresses. Same with Amar'e, although he's not having as much of a problem with Ts as he was last season.
I think a Lin and Stoudemire P&R will develop over the next couple of weeks. I imagine Amar'e's still having a hard time recovering from his brother's death and all, and even before then he was struggling to cope with the sudden abundance of stardom on this team. Once it gets going, though, the NBA better watch out.
@Peaceman Thanks Peaceman