When the New York Knicks brought Tyson Chandler into the fold it wasn't without controversy. Chandler had just won an NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks and gave New York their first big-name center since Patrick Ewing. However, in order to bring Chandler to Madison Square Garden the Knicks had to use the newly invented Amnesty Clause to let Chauncey Billups go. That left the team without a point guard able to run the offense. In the short-term, it was a mistake. However, Chandler changed the the culture of the Knicks and helped make defense a priority. Long-term, putting Chandler in a Knicks jersey was the right move.
Tyson Chandler is a 7'1", 240 pound center from Handford, California. He attended Dominquez High School in Compton, California and was the second overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He was immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls for former NBA Rookie of the Year Elton Brand. The Bulls planned to pair Chandler with fellow high school star Eddy Curry but the front court had little success. Chandler played for the Bulls from 2001-06 but struggled with health problems, including an ailing back. He played for the New Orleans Hornets from 2006-09, the Charlotte Bobcats from 2009-10, the Dallas Mavericks from 2010-11 and began his career with the New York Knicks in 2011.
Chandler has been a two time NBA All-Defensive Second Team player (2011, 2012), an All-NBA Third Team player in 2012, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, an NBA Champion with the Mavericks in 2011 and was recently named an NBA All-Star (2013) for the first time in his 12 year career. In addition, Chandler won a gold medal in Las Vegas in the FIBA Americas Championships as a member of Team USA in 2007, a gold medal in Turkey in the FIBA World Championships as a member of Team USA in 2010 and a gold medal in London at the Olympic Games as a member of Team USA in 2012.
Beyond his obvious affect on the culture of the Knicks team on the defensive end, Chandler has recently tried to make his presence felt as a rebounder. Coach Mike Woodson challenged Chandler to prove to everyone that he truly deserved his recent All-Star nomination and to dominate in the paint. Since then, Chandler's taken his game to another level.
During last nights victory over the Detroit Pistons Chandler etched his name in the Knicks' record books. He became the first Knicks player since Willis Reed in 1969 to record three straight 20-rebound games. That's a hat trick that Chandler will be remembered for by Knicks fans for a long time. However, his post-game interview proved that wasn't the hat trick Chandler had on his mind.
Being from California, Chandler is a San Francisco 49ers fan. However, Carmelo Anthony was raised in Baltimore and is a Ravens fan. When Baltimore beat San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday Chandler lost his bet with Anthony and was forced to wear a Ravens hat during the post-game interviews.
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Chandler explained his Baltimore fashion statement.
"This is not my team, this is Carmelo's team. But they won, so congratulations to the Ravens and all their fans," Chandler begrudgingly said at the begging of his post-game interview.
Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press reports that Anthony was very pleased by the attention Chandler garnered on the day he'd pay for his lost bet.
"That made my day. You just don't know," said Anthony, who stood across the locker room and watched Chandler's interview with a smile. "It was a good day for me, it just was a coincidence that he had three games with 20 rebounds. That picture will be everywhere."
The game was decided early. However, Chandler played long enough to grab his 20th rebound midway through the fourth quarter. Joining Hall of Famer Willis Reed in the history books made the night memorable. However, every time the moment is replayed on MSG Chandler will be seen wearing a Ravens hat and explaining a lost bet instead of his dominance in the paint.
When things are going well that's how things go in the NBA. Right now the Knicks are playing the soft section of their schedule and taking care of business. While things are going well players can afford to joke around and discuss other topics than what's happening on the court. That wont stop coach Mike Woodson from staying focused on Chandler's performance though.
Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press reports Woodson is hoping Chandlers dominance in the paint continues.
"That's what I expect," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "He can't tease me. He's done it three straight games, so I'm expecting it the fourth game."
It's clear the Woodson's words carry a lot of weight with his players. Woodson's affects on J.R. Smith have been very obvious. Since he told Chandler that he wasn't playing the kind of basketball a player of his stature should be Chandler's gone on this run of rebounding no Knicks fans have seen in over four decades.
It will be fun to see if Chandler can continue to pull down rebounds at such a high rate. Reality says that he's not going to get 20 rebounds every time he steps on the court. However, Chandler rebounding at a high rate gives the Knicks an element they haven't had in a long time and could surely use. It will be interesting to see if he can continue his stellar play against the top teams in the league.
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