Ever since the Dirk Nowitzki era was established, there have been two goals the Mavs have been looking to accomplish, win a championship and find Nowitzki a consistent running mate that can help make things easier for the face of the franchise. The idea of finding that running mate will make the chase for the title easier. It might be an outside of the box theory, but Tyson Chandler might be that player that can be Nowitzki's running mate. For years, everyone has determined that the running mate needed to be a guard/forward who can create scoring opportunities on their own, score 20 points and be aggressive. It's always had the mindset that the player needs to be an offensive threat.
The other side of the angle is finding a big man who compliments Nowitzki's skill set, that is where Tyson Chandler comes in. His ability to be a force on both sides of the court truly makes him a game-changer. MFFLs have been looking for a Robin to their Batman (Nowitzki). Others have taken it a step farther to where the Mavs needed to find a Batman and Nowitzki would be willing to defer. The Mavericks have found a case where they have a Superman (Nowitzki) and Batman (Chandler). To hear the rest of the "Justice League" theory, you can go here.
"My goal coming here was to make an impact on the team and change the culture of the team," said Chandler. "And although I feel like we’re not completely there, we’re headed in the right direction. So, I feel like we’ve done a good job so far." Chandler has held up his end of the bargain and been a beast on both ends of the floor as his average is close to mirroring a double-double, 10.5 points with the 9.4 rebounds.
Dirk Nowitzki is quick to have a fitting name for Chandler, "I think, really, our MVP has been Tyson Chandler," said Nowitzki. The way he changed our culture defensively. He gets my MVP of the Mavericks for the first half of the season. He's been playing phenomenal."
The statistical numbers are great, but the intangibles Chandler brings to the table tend to impress the Mavericks, especially Nowitzki. "His energy on defense, I think we're better defensively with him. He's so positive about everything. It's great," said Nowitzki. "He's vocal in the time outs and in the locker room. He's always talking. He's communicating with the guys about coverages, about other stuff. Just his energy has been great. You saw it on the US team this summer. He played in the beginning, and then he didn't play at all anymore in the Worlds. And he's still the first one off the bench, firing everybody up. That's who he is. He's a team guy. He just wants to win."
It has been a while for the Mavericks to expect or hope they can get consistent production out of their center position, let alone double-double production out of the position. You have to go back to the late 80s/early 90s to find James Donaldson as the last center the Mavs have had that has double-double capabilities. It appears that the wait is over with the arrival of Chandler. The double-double has been a realistic opportunity as Chandler has recorded 15 double-doubles. Dallas has a record of 12-3 when Chandler gets at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in a game.
“I want to go out there and provide whatever is needed of me. I try to give as much firepower on both ends as I can,” Chandler said. “With this team, it’s easy because the spacing and the way the guys move and share the ball makes it easy to get opportunities on the offensive end. My main focus is always going to be on the defensive end, to be the anchor defensively and communicate and keep my guys in the right spot.” Chandler's performance has given the front office the ability to change the thought process when they evaluate players to bring on board. The team does not need to place a stronger emphasis on an All-NBA scoring threat. They can look more for a scoring specialist like Peja Stojakovic.
His performance over the season made him a borderline All-Star. Unfortunately for Chandler, the coaches decided to go a different way and Chandler will use the weekend to relax. That does not mean that Chandler agrees with the decision made by the coaches. "As far as centers go, I feel like I've had the best year of all the centers in the West,'' Chandler said. "So I felt like, if you're going to choose a center in the West, I felt like I should have been in. But they went a different route.'' We have already discussed how the snub can be a good thing. It also shows another intangible that Chandler brings to the table, swagger. His game is centered around energy and toughness, factors that have not always been at the disposal of the Mavericks.
At 28 years old, Chandler has had to endure injuries over his career. He has had aches and pains over the course of the season, yet he has not missed a game yet due to injury. Big men take time to develop and he is starting to inch closer to peak stages for centers. At this point, it can been seen as a luxury that Chandler had the injuries because it reduced the wear and tear each season can place on a body. As long as he is healthy and can stay consistent, he is going to be a major factor.
You can call him Batman, the heart and soul of the team or the defensive anchor. No matter what, the Mavericks will continue to call on Tyson Chandler and the big man will do everything he can to rise to the occasion.
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