On Thursday night, the announcements were made for the seven reserve players for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Dirk Nowitzki was announced as a reserve and will be making his 10th straight All-Star appearance. Unfortunately, Nowitzki will not have a teammate going with him as Tyson Chandler was not named a reserve. Chandler, who went to high school in Los Angeles where the All-Star Game will be played, was a victim of the overall depth the Western Conference has to offer. "I can’t think of a guy more deserving based on what he’s contributed to our team," said Coach Rick Carlisle. "He’s doing it statistically. He’s doing it with energy and enthusiasm, and he’s brought an indomitable spirit to our team...He’s one of four or five guys that were absolutely deserving to be All-Stars. But because it is such a potent year in the West, there’s only so many spots."
Chandler still could receive his first All-Star nomination. It would take a different set of circumstances for him to make the team. One route that many fans can remember is route that Jason Kidd took towards the All-Star Game in Dallas last season. Kidd was not nominated to the team last year, but he was awarded a spot due to Kobe Bryant stepping out of the game due to an ankle injury.
"My goal coming here was to make an impact on the team and change the culture of the team. 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," said Tyson Chandler. "If it was me, if I’m every coach in the league, I’m gonna look at what a player does for his team. To me, that’s an All-Star. I’m not necessarily a numbers guy, because I think sometimes numbers can lie. I’m not saying that about any particular player this year, that’s definitely not what I’m talking about. But I like to watch a guy and watch what he does and see the impact that he has on his team."
Chandler might not be a numbers guy, but he has been putting up impressive numbers as of late. The Mavs center is coming off a 15-point, 11-rebound effort in the Mavs’ 113-97 road victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. It was his 11th double-double to bring his season averages up to 10.2 points and 9.3 rebounds. Good things tend to happen for the Mavericks when Chandler has that kind of night as they have a 9-2 record when he nabs a double-double.
"I felt the only thing I could do is put myself in this situation to be considered," Chandler said. "Just to be considered is a great honor. But my goal is to always help my team win, whatever that may be. Whether it's scoring, rebounding, defending, doing the little things, whatever it takes. I felt like I accomplished that. And that's all I can do."
So how does not making the team potentially turn out to be a good thing for Chandler? The NBA regular season is a marathon and it can wear your body down. Chandler has yet to miss a game due to injury (his three missed games are due to illness). The big man has already participated in 45 games this season for the Mavericks, that equals his entire total for the 2008-2009 season with New Orleans and is only six games shy of his total last season with Charlotte. Chandler's game is heavily dictated on energy and aggression. A mini-vacation could be good for Chandler in the long run and keep him fresh for the title push.
Tyson Chandler can use the snub as motivation. Players are capable of using the smallest bit of news and being able to make it bulletin board material. Coach Carlisle clearly loves his player, but the rest of the Western Conference coaches do not feel the same way. Now, Chandler can step on to the court every night and prove to those coaches they made the wrong choice.
So, if Tyson Chandler is to have a homecoming in Los Angeles as a first-time All-Star he's going to need a little help from the commissioner to make that happen. If not, Chandler will get some extra rest, find even more motivation and continue to do whatever it takes to make sure the Mavericks have the last laugh.