Editor’s note: There are a few new faces in the Dallas Mavericks front office. While there were no big splashes in their first free agency they did add a piece or two that should make an impact. But we can always ask for more. So we as a staff took some time to ask: if we could add any former Maverick from the post-title years to the 2021-22 Mavericks who would it be and why? I mean, what else are we supposed to do with this down time before training camp?
2014-15 Tyson Chandler would be a godsend for this Mavericks team. The Mavericks’ potential starters for this season all have different negatives. Chandler would not solve all of the team’s problems because he is not a secondary distributor nor could he create his own shot off the dribble.
What he could do was rim run and defend. NBA.com does not have play type data for roll men from the 2014-15 season, but it does have data from the 16-17 and 17-18 seasons. During those seasons, in a lesser pick and roll system with a lesser orchestrator than Luka Doncic, Chandler finished in the 95th and 86th percentile as a roll man. He finished in the 80th percentile in 15-16 but given his much lower shooting percentage(58.3 percent) in 15-16, it is incredibly likely his percentile was higher in 14-15 where he shot 66.6 percent. In addition to the total percentage, in 14-15 he shot 74.6 percent from within 3 feet and hammered home 179 dunks.
Prior to the ill fated Rajon Rondo trade, the numbers and team success were even better. Chandler was shooting 67.9 percent from the floor while the team was 19 and 8. The current Mavericks do not have a spacing killer like that version of Rondo.
His offense was not the only thing Chandler offered. The 2011-2012 Defensive player of the year, Chandler was even more well known for his defense. The Mavericks were 3.6 points per 48 minutes better defensively with Chandler on the court than off. Chandler never posted huge block numbers, but he was a deterrent at the rim. He allowed a 56.3 shooting percentage at the rim this season which was 3 percent lower than expected. He was also an elite rebounder averaging 11.5 rebounds in only 30.5 minutes per game.
Starting Chandler alongside Luka, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith and Kristaps Porzingis would allow the Mavericks to have their cake and eat it to. Currently, the team must choose between rim running, vertical spacing (Dwight Powell) or length and rim protection (Willie Cauley-Stein). Chandler offered both. Unlike many centers who are pure rim runners, he was also a solid free throw shooter(72 percent).
The idea of Luka running pick and rolls with Chandler on a floor so immaculately spaced is something out of a Daryl Morey fever dream. There is no good option for the defense in that scenario. That is why despite better players having played for the Mavericks since the title, there would be no better ringer for the current team to add than Tyson Chandler.