As the New York Knicks prepare to take on the Brooklyn Nets, one of the key matchups to follow is the battle of the big men in Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez.
Lopez is listed as day-to-day by the Nets after missing the past five games with a foot sprain, and his impact of being out of the lineup has been felt as Brooklyn has lost four straight.
But although both guys are having good starts to the season, who’s the better center?
Classic big man battles are a thing of the past, with so few quality big men in the game today, so when there is a matchup of two quality centers, it is worth looking at.
Chandler is averaging career highs in points per game, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, true shooting percentage and PER, and of course his defense has been outstanding as usual.
The Knicks are outscoring opponents by 12 points with Chandler on the court (per 48 minutes) and are getting outscored by 0.3 points with him on the bench.
Lopez on the other hand means just as much to the Nets.
The Dwight Howard saga last season almost made you forget how talented Lopez is. This season the Nets are 10-4 with him in the lineup and 1-4 without him.
In addition, the Nets gave up an average of 102.2 points per game. With Lopez, Brooklyn allowed an average of 90.7 points per game.
Lopez is more of a traditional scorer for a big man than Chandler and is better at blocking shots, but don’t discount Chandler’s ability on the offensive end of the floor. Just because he doesn’t demand the ball in the fashion that some big men would, he can score the ball.
Both guys re so valuable to their respective teams, as neither are the same when they aren’t on the floor.
But if I had to choose one of the two, I’m going with Chandler and that’s no disrespect to Lopez.
Chandler has the pedigree of a winner, something I’m sure Lopez will one day develop and he’s a much better rebounder, which for me is the one knock on Lopez’s game.
I like having the guy in the middle that can score when he has to, but can rebound the ball and play defense at a high level. Right now that guy is Chandler.