Dallas Mavericks fans get sick of talking and whining about Tyson Chandler. We know Mark Cuban made a huge mistake letting Chandler get away to the New York Knicks. "Yada yada yada" is all that's left to say, so let New Yorkers talk about Tyson now. We're over it.
No, actually we're not. And we never will be. The Mavericks and their fans will never really get over losing the best center in the NBA.
Yes, Tyson Chandler is the BEST CENTER in the NBA.
There is no more understating Tyson's credentials like last season when he won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award in his first season in New York.
The consensus opinion remained that Chandler could never be considered a better all-around center than Howard. Hell, the only offensive play you can run for Tyson is an alley-oop dunk.
It's the same logic some "experts" give you when they say Wilt Chamberlain was a much better center than Bill Russell. Look at their offensive games, they say. No contest.
It reminds you of the enormous expectations bestowed on Howard by the Lakers brass after he was acquired in a blockbuster deal this summer. Andrew Bynum went to Philadephia and Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person told the LA Times' Mike Bresnahan that it was a lopsided trade long before Bynum's bowling injury:
"Andrew is gifted within his own right, but Dwight brings much better force because he's faster, quicker, more explosive, and he understands the game a lot better at this point than Bynum does.
"We have a much more gifted player on our hands, no doubt. Dwight understands who he is and what he's trying to accomplish."
Experts like Person often declare that Howard excels in every facet of the game except free throw shooting. And that Shaq was just as bad from the line and won four rings, so it's no big deal.
Whether the current Los Angeles Lakers center is killing Los Angeles with his poor free throw shooting is not the point here.
The point is that Tyson Chandler knew his role in Dallas and executed it. And he is doing the same thing in New York.
Forget the alleged basketball experts. I'm willing to bet that Dirk Nowitzki or Carmelo Anthony would privately say that Tyson Chandler is the best center in the NBA. Publicly, only Melo would be in position to say such a thing without ruffling feathers. You can't expect Dirk to publicly pile on his team's owner.
Dirk knows he won his only NBA championship in Chandler's only season in Dallas. It's no slight to Jason Terry or Jason Kidd, but they played with Dirk for several years. The common denominator for Dirk, Terry and Kidd's only championship was playing with Chandler.
Why do you think J-Kidd followed Tyson's large footsteps to New York this season? He saw a potential chemistry that could result in another title for both of them.
Not because Kidd can throw Chandler a couple of more alley-oops. It's because Kidd knows how brilliantly Chandler can complement a dominant scorer like a Carmelo Anthony.
Or a Raymond Felton or a Steve Novak!
Of course, that's a joke. However, the Knicks did blow out the Miami Heat again last night with Anthony sidelined with a cut finger. Felton and Novak picked up the scoring slack by combining for 45 points in a 112-92 win.
Carmelo is still the same selfish player he's always been. In fact, his assists are at a career-low 2.1 per game this season.
Doesn't matter so much when Kidd and Felton are on the floor.
Carmelo is still a defensive liability. But so was Dirk.
Doesn't matter so much with Chandler around.
Dirk's rebounding stats were near all-time lows when he played with Tyson. With that responsibility diminished, Dirk was able to accentuate the best part of his game. The unstoppable seven-footer focused that much more on scoring the ball from any part of the floor.
Chandler's commitment to defense and rebounding makes him the ideal complement to a Dirk or a Carmelo.
LeBron James is not intimidated by Chandler, but he also can't foul him out of the game like he's done so often with Howard over the years.
So yes, free throws are a big factor on both ends of the court when you compare Chandler to Howard.
We saw Howard foul out in his Lakers debut when the Mavs won at Los Angeles in late October. This was hardly an aberration, and the worst part is that Howard is constantly in foul trouble whether he's disqualified or not.
A former brick-layer at the line, Chandler has been right around 73 percent for the last four seasons now. Howard has gone in the opposite direction, regressing to under 50 percent the last two seasons.
The fear factor Chandler presented in Dallas still can't be overstated. We saw another illustration Wednesday night in Los Angeles when Willie Green almost cratered O.J. Mayo's head with a wild elbow.
Coach Rick Carlisle was the only Mav with the gumption to get in the face of the Clippers' strongman. And as muscular as Green is, he's only 6'3 and barely over 200 pounds.
At least last night in Phoenix, the Mavs didn't allow an encore performance of the Clippers' dunkfest. As a result, Dallas won a squeaker over the Phoenix Suns, 97-94.
Unfortunately, a low-scoring win for the Mavs is a rarity these days. We knew Chandler was a difference-maker. We just didn't know how much.
Tyson Chandler is the best center in the NBA because he understands his role and executes it. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard still doesn't get it and I doubt he ever will.
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