Tyson Chandler’s arrival and immediate impact on the Dallas Mavericks
In the summer of 2010, the Dallas Mavericks used their $13 million Erick Dampier trade chip to swoop in and undercut ongoing talks between the then-named Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors. The prize, 27-year-old oft-injured Tyson Chandler, had played in just 27 games for the Bobcats over his year and a half tenure in Charlotte.
He was hardly the dominant defensive big and ferocious rim-rattler the Mavs had faced in their 2008 first-round playoff loss to the New Orleans Hornets. Still, the Bobcats were strapped for cash as a franchise and gladly accepted the expiring Dampier contract to ease that burden.
The Mavs, having already re-signed Brandan Haywood at midnight of free agency’s opening, were suddenly unsure of who their starting center would be, but the prospect of two starting-caliber bigs to patrol the paint certainly intrigued a Mavs franchise that had long been starved for impactful play from the five-spot. By the time training camp wrapped up, there was no doubt about the starter.
As a player, Tyson Chandler was a fierce competitor who brought infectious energy and intensity. In reading Sturm’s book, I was reminded of Chandler’s Mavs preseason debut and how that in and of itself signaled change.
After getting his shot blocked by Wizards center JaVale McGee, Chandler turned to the official and looked for a foul. When he didn’t get it, Tyson turned and sprinted down the floor, tracking down Al Thornton on the fastbreak and obliterating the ball as he threw it off the glass and screamed, “Give me that!”
Chandler might have been embroiled in a battle for the starting job, but this was a preseason game, mind you. Just one of the eight Dallas would play that season. To play with such fire and tenacity was highly unusual, especially for a Mavs big man.
Chandler would go on to play 74 games that season, starting in every one of them as the Mavs compiled a 57-25 record and ran roughshod through the playoffs behind a 16-5 record that brought Dallas its first championship.