Media Day and training camp are always outlets for players to discuss how they’re in the best shape of their lives, how much they’ve improved their game, their bodies, etc. etc. Between this common rhetoric, however, some interesting quotes can be found and analyzed. The New York Knicks went through all of the usual motions yesterday, but Tyson Chandler had some interesting things to offer regarding defense, team leadership and chemistry, and most of all, contributing on offense.
Chandler is a rare player who succeeds as one of the most efficient offensive players while being quite limited offensively. In two seasons with the Knicks, Chandler has averaged 10.8 points per game on 65.8% FG with a True Shooting percentage of 68.9%, among the best in the league. However, his offensive diet consists almost totally of dunks, alley-oops, put-backs, and layups around the rim. He has almost no semblance of a post move, and he rarely ever takes jump shots. Check out Chandler’s shot chart, courtesy of NBA.com/Stats:
Outside of the pretty green area located inside the paint, Chandler attempted just 13 shots. Despite his high efficiency around the basket, his limited skill set can hurt the Knicks in some situations. He can’t spread the floor, can’t play with his back to the basket, and can occasionally look clumsy trying to collect himself in a crowd of people and score the ball. He’s a devastating finisher in the pick-and-roll, posting an average of 1.3 points per possession as a role man, shooting 67%, good for seventh best in the NBA. The pick-and-roll account for over 30% of Chandler’s offense in 2012-13.
However, sometimes that’s not enough, as we saw in the semi-finals against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers shut down the pick-and-roll, granted Raymond Felton pull-up jumpers, and denied Chandler any access to the paint. He was unable to spread the floor, so baskets around the rim were hard to come by for any teammate, thus forcing them to the perimeter.
This summer, Chandler claims to have worked on a jump hook and mid-range jumper, according to Ian Begley. Rejoice! It should be music to Knicks fans’ ears. Of course, Chandler has made such claims before. Last summer he was supposed to work out with Hakeem Olajuwon, but eventually had to cancel. At the end of last season, in his exit interview, he said he wanted to become more involved on the offensive end. Chandler was pretty quiet this summer (it was one of the rare offseasons in which he’s not playing for USA Basketball), but it seems he’s followed through with his plans.
The Knicks’ offense still functioned at an extremely efficient rate last year with Chandler in the lineup — a staggering 110 points per 100 possessions, the third best mark on the team. But as mentioned, smart, rough-neck defenses like the Indiana Pacers figured out a way to halt the Knicks’ offense and effectively removed Chandler from the equation.
It’s not as if Chandler will suddenly become a force on the block. But if he can make defenders respect his mid-range jumper (think about how crucial just one jumper from the elbow per game would be), or show the ability to drop step and hit a jump hook, suddenly, defenses have to respect more than just his pick-and-roll game. From there, the Knicks would find ample spacing to once again make their offense hum,
Follow Scott Davis on Twitter.