Chandler adds necessary defensive help for Mavericks

Zach Berru

The Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks agreed to a six-player trade last Wednesday that landed center Tyson Chandler back in Dallas, where he won an NBA Championship in 2011.

The trade sent Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas in exchange for Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, and Shane Larkin in addition to the 34th and 51st pick in this year’s draft.

The Mavericks gave up two starters – Calderon at point guard and Dalembert at center – but received the best player in the deal in 2013 All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year Chandler, giving the Mavs a much needed defensive boost.

Last season, Dallas was excellent on offense, averaging 104.8 points per game, but lacked in defense ranking 26th in the league in rebounds per game with 40.9 and 20th in points allowed with 102.4.
Chandler, who played in just 55 games with the Knicks due to injury, averaged 2.9 offensive rebounds per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and 1.15 blocks per game. While his presence on the court is an established fact, his health since leaving the Mavs’ championship roster in 2011 is suspect: Chandler has missed 43 games over the last two seasons.

However, as great of an asset as Chandler is on defense, the Mavericks will miss Calderon on the offensive side of the ball. Calderon was a consistent threat from the land beyond, with a regular season 3-point percentage of .449. Yet, Calderon was often criticized for his defense, missing action in ‘crunch-time’ when defense was a necessity.

The trade to acquire the 32-year-old center shows that the Mavs are focusing on building a roster to win now. The organization is excited about the upcoming season after taking the 2014 champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in an intense series.

For Coach Rick Carlisle, acquiring Chandler is a step in the right direction.

“The guy is such an injection of enthusiasm and energy,” Carlisle said. “There have been few players that I’ve seen in 30 years in this league that have become so respected and so beloved in a market as Tyson has here in one year. He just has the exuberant enthusiasm that’s infection, and it rubs off on everybody.”  

Chandler believes that he can not only match his performance of 2011, but improve.
“Absolutely, I think I can be better,” said Chandler. “I finished the season healthy. I was already looking forward to this summer because I felt like there were so many things I could improve on.”

After missing out on landing big names in free agency for two straight years after their championship run, Dallas is now in a favorable position to try their luck at landing Carmelo Anthony also from the Knicks.

Chandler has wasted no time in recruiting former teammate Anthony for his current team.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team and the organization,” said Chandler. “But I’ll tell you one thing: Dallas isn’t a bad place to be. It’s a great opportunity, and clearly we’ve done it in the past. It’s not a hard place to sell. I’m going to do whatever it takes.”