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Mavericks Netting Huge Results at Center Position

The season clearly is still in the infancy stage for everyone, but the Mavericks certainly have to love what they're getting at the center position.  They love it so much so that Dirk Nowitzki has gone on record this is the best center combo he's ever played with.  The combination of Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood or "Chan-Wood" as I like to call them have really been a solid anchor in the middle and been a huge catalyst in the results the Mavericks are observing on the defensive end of the court. 

A solid example is Friday night against Philadelphia.  Elton Brand had scored 20 or more points in five out of the last six games entering the match-up against Dallas, he ended the evening with just 12 points.  The centers have also learned to rectify messy situations when they have had the chance.  When Memphis came to town, Marc Gasol scored 10 points and recorded 15 rebounds (6 offensive).  In the next meeting, this time in Memphis, Gasol scored 10 points again but only recorded 5 rebounds (2 offensive).

To start the season, the "Chan-Wood" duo is averaging 12 points, 15 rebounds and 2.75 blocks per game.  Those numbers are pretty solid but the duo want more, they really want to shoot for 20 points and 20 rebounds.  "If we do so, that's going to help our team tremendously," Chandler said. "If we get to 20-20 and four (blocked shots) combined, those are big-time stats for us. That should be our goal. Not saying that we're going to get it, but that should definitely be our goal."  The 20 points part of the equation might be hard to come by due to them not being a focal point of the offense but the rebounding part is definitely well within reach.  Either way, this is a pretty lofty goal, if they aren't able to reach it but come close, they and the rest of the Mavericks will happily live with the results.

Chandler has already recorded two double-doubles this season, he had a total of five last season in his lone year with Charlotte.  It might not necessarily be fair to expect consistent double-double numbers from Tyson.  Though, if the big man is able to stay healthy, he should definitely be flirting with the double-doubles game-in and game-out.

Brendan Haywood clearly understands the roll that he and Chandler must fill, "Our job is to come in and give us second-chance opportunities.  If we do that, we make things a lot easier on offense."  The results are showing that Haywood appears to be getting more comfortable coming off the bench.  He has 25 rebounds in his last two games after totaling just 26 in the first six games of the season.  Coach Rick Carlisle understands the change Haywood is going through, "It's not an easy adjustment. For anybody who's been a starter all their career, going to a bench role is different," said Carlisle.  "It's a different mindset and you got to get your mind geared to instant energy. You can't ease into the game the first six minutes. I give him a lot of credit.''

Haywood believes in Chandler's 20-20 goal, "If we combine for 20 and 20 on most nights, that would be big for this team," said Haywood.  "We both come in and try to establish ourselves on the offensive and defensive glass because that's our role, and then we let everything else fall where it may."  The relationship between the two, in the locker room they are direct locker neighbors, appear to be very friendly and supportive.  There are no signs of jealousy or distension and they almost take the roll of a tag-team combination.  When one struggles or needs to take a seat, the other is ready to step in and take the challenge.   It's a sigh of relief for the Mavericks and their fans to see that the relationship between the two is very positive. 

If the duo can continue gelling and improving over the course of the season, they will definitely get the Mavericks closer to competing against the LA Lakers.  The Mavericks are one of the few teams in the entire league that have a platoon of 7-footers they can throw at the huge front-line of the Lakers.  If you're able to defeat the Lakers, there's a good chance you're headed to the Finals.  For the Mavericks, the only goal is to get back to the finals and finish the job.

This year might be the perfect storm for the Mavericks based on what is looming ahead beyond this year.  If Chandler remains healthy and has a solid season, he will be a prized free-agent this summer.  Any time a big man with talent pops up on the market, the price escalates quickly.  A home-town discount is always and option but they need to be prepared to go deep into the wallet to retain him.  People in the organization have confidence that they will find a way to retain Chandler if things work out for him during the season. 

Haywood is locked up for five more years at a total of $40 million.  There is always the option of trading him but that can't happen until, at the earliest, December 15th.  If the Mavericks want to go that route, they have shown over the past couple of seasons that they're able to find a team that would be willing to take a less than desirable contract, the talent level is there for Haywood but owners might not like the length of the deal.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the summer, but "Chan-Wood" and the Mavericks are focused on the now and they're hoping the early big results lead to golden results in late June.