DALLAS -- It shouldn’t have surprised anyone that Tyson Chandler’s first bucket as a Maverick came off a Jason Kidd lob.
“You’ll see a lot of that,” Chandler said with a big smile.
The ferocious two-handed flush in Gerald Wallace’s face was certainly a sign of things to come. Chandler is pain-free after dealing with toe and ankle injuries the last two years. He’s back to being the 7-foot-1 pogo stick Mavs fans remember from the dunkathon also known as the first round of the 2008 playoffs.
It’s not exactly glorious praise to be called the most athletic big man in Mavs history. Chandler rises above Brendan Haywood on that list (unless you want to make an argument for Lorenzo Williams, but the logic here is that you have to weigh more than 185 pounds soaking wet to be considered a big man).
It is pretty impressive to be considered one of the most athletic big men in the league, which is what Dirk Nowitzki called Chandler after the new Mav’s eight-point, eight-rebound, two-block Dallas debut. Orlando’s Dwight Howard is the only center who is clearly a superior athlete.
The Mavs believe Chandler will make his biggest impact on the defensive end, where his activity and versatility gives them a different dimension. He has limited offensive skills, but he excels at finishing and crashing the glass.
Kidd believes Chandler will be a double-digit scorer, as he was when he was slamming down alley-oops from All-Star point guard Chris Paul in New Orleans. And Kidd thinks the threat of Chandler cutting to the basket will create a lot of wide-open looks for Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.
“He’s a guy who plays above the rim,” Kidd said. “Nothing against Haywood or Damp, but he’s a guy who can set a pick and get out and the lob’s always an option. That changes the whole game.”