In November, Tyson Chandler entered the record books once again.
After shooting 5-for-8 from the floor in the Knicks' win over the Wizards on Friday night, the starting center finished the first month of the season having made 70.9 percent of his field goal attempts (66-for-93). It marked the second time in his career that he hit at least 70 percent of his shots in a calendar month during which he took at least 75 shots from the field. He was at 71.4 percent from the floor (60-for-84) in January of this year.
Only one other player in NBA history has had more than one such month in his career: Wilt Chamberlain, who had seven calendar months taking at least 75 shots and making at least 70 percent of them.
Chandler, who's currently shooting a league-best 71.3 percent, is a putback artist and is especially effective off of screens. Recently, I spoke with him more about his offensive efficiency for a story in the Dec. 10 issue of ESPN The Magazine. Here are some key nuggets from our conversation:
How have you become of the most efficient shooters -- based on field goal percentage -- in NBA history?
Chandler: I've just concentrated on trying to be efficient when I'm working on the pick-and-roll and understanding where I can be effective at. I try to take only the best shot when I'm out there.
What about your game has changed? Are you focusing more on pick-and-rolls, or is it a function of playing alongside Carmelo Anthony?
Chandler: My game has definitely changed over the years. It's also different personnel. I've really learned the pick-and-roll obviously playing with Chris Paul (in New Orleans from 2006-09). We learned how to create off one another and I actually learned from a point guard's perspective what he's seeing out there, and kind of watching him and seeing how I can get him open, get him easy baskets. And vice versa. He taught me about things in the pick. He's one of the best at it. He's one of the best basketball minds in the way he sees the floor.
I've also learned from (Jason) Kidd and (Raymond) Felton. That's been very key. Also, playing alongside Melo. A lot of double teams come at him, so it's about being able to play without the ball, positioning.
This season, playing with Felton and Jason Kidd has been amazing, because you've got two guys that can score, two guys that can create a play. They also open up the floor because you can go pick-and-roll on one side, let the ball float around and you have another point guard as well that can go into the pick-and-roll for a second time, which makes it really difficult for the defense to react.
Given you're so efficient, do you wish you got the ball more down low, or are you happy with your current role?
Chandler: I'm happy. I could go 10-for-12 or 12-for-12 (from the field), but it just depends on how the defense reacts. Different nights I'll have different opportunities, and when I have the opportunity, I always go for it.
Is it ever frustrating to hear you're a defense-only player when you're the most efficient offensively in the league right now?
Chandler: It's frustrating sometimes. When they talk about me, they should talk about me as a whole. Throughout my entire career, my shooting percentage has always been off the charts.
What do you hope to develop further to make you even more effective on offense?
Chandler: I'm trying to develop a short jump shot. I feel like Melo's going to be double-teamed every night, so if I flash to the high post, I can either take that jump shot and become a threat, or create for my teammates.
If my defender's going to lay off, I'm going to start taking that shot. Before, I just wanted to make sure we stayed in our offense and get guys touches, and get guys the ball in the right spot. But if they're going to lay off me like that, I feel like I can knock it down. Then if my guy starts running at me, then we're really in good offense.
I knock it down in practice all the time. Now, I've just got to bring it to the court.
Research assistance: ESPN Stats & Info
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