Loss to Clippers Proves Tyson Chandler is Most Valuable Maverick
By Jay Knodell
It’s something we all knew, but was reenforced mightily in Dallas’ 115-98 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Tyson Chandler is the most important Maverick on the roster. He may not be the “best” player on the team, though the argument could be made, but the Mavericks rely on their big man in the middle more than anyone else.
This was evident against DeAndre Jordan and the Clips. Chandler went down after turning his ankle just a minute into the game and didn’t return. The domination that ensued from Jordan after the departure of Dallas’ lone rim protector and consistent threat on the boards was both horrific and breathtaking. He was 8-12 from the field for 22 points, and absolutely demolished the shorthanded Maverick frontcourt on the glass to the tune of 27 rebounds. 27!
His 11 offensive rebounds were three shy of the entire Dallas roster. His 16 defensive boards were nearly half of the 33 the Mavericks could muster. And without the threat of lobs to Chandler, Jordan was free to roam the paint and provide superb help defense. He totaled three blocks and helped hold Dallas to just 30 points in the paint.
Chandler likely will sit out against the Utah Jazz, the final game for Dallas before the All-Star break, but the Mavericks need their biggest offseason acquisition to get healthy as soon as possible. They’ve gotten by with Rajon Rondo missing time, and could likely survive without Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, or Dirk Nowitzki for a short stretch, but Chandler is invaluable.
Dallas has plenty of scorers. Against the Clippers they were again without Rondo, and Ellis played only four minutes before sustaining a hip injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the evening. Without their starting backcourt (and the 10.7 points from Chandler) they were still able to score 98 points. There aren’t many teams in the league that can essentially be three starters down and still put up that kind of production. Charlie Villanueva stepped up with a season-high 26 points to fill the offensive void, and others are capable of doing the same.
But the Mavericks don’t have anyone capable of reproducing the impact Chandler has. He’s the quarterback of the defense, the emotional spinal cord of the team, and one of the best rebounders in the game. No one else can erase the mistakes made by perimeter defenders by controlling the paint. No one else can be counted on to rebound consistently. Even if the Mavericks nab Jermaine O’Neal, somehow land Amar’e Stoudemire, or complete a deal with Bernard James, Chandler will remain the most valuable player on the roster.
Get well soon, big guy.
Next: Mavericks Lose More Than Just a Game to Clippers
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