Tyson Chandler is in his comfort zone when he's able to elevate for shots around the basket.
The Knicks enter the season with great expectations, in no small part because of the addition of big man Tyson Chandler.
Exactly how will he make a difference? We take a closer look at the key skills Chandler brings with the help of our Synergy video evaluation tool.
Contesting the Long Range Shot
The Mavericks lead the Washington Wizards by three points in the third quarter in a late-January game last season, but the Wizards are about to get a couple of shots to tie.
The ball swings to Nick Young in the corner opposite where it was just moments before.
Chandler is able to shift focus from one end to the other. He comes racing at Young, forcing an ugly miss.
After a second miss, Trevor Booker, grabs the rebound and throws it back to Rashard Lewis at the wing.
It's an open 3-pointer, but Lewis hesitates.
Knicks Defense Ranks
vs Shots, 2010-11 Season
That allows Chandler to leap out again, raise his arms and contest Lewis' shot. Lewis ended up overshooting. The ball hit the back rim, no good.
The Knicks got crushed last season by long shots last season. They ranked 30th in the NBA in points allowed per shot on shots from 17 feet to the 3-point line and 28th in the league against 3-pointers.
Chandler will provide an improvement, ranking just above average at defending the mid-range jumper, and in the top one-quarter of the league when trying to deny a 3-pointer.
Defending the Pick-and-Roll
The score is tied with five minutes left in the fourth quarter of a late-January game with the Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash has the ball in his hands with eight seconds on the shot clock.
Nash moves left, setting up for a pick-and-roll. Chandler switches, moves off his man, and forces Nash outside.
Nash drives and curls around Chandler, but Chandler stays with him and raises his right arm as Nash prepares to shoot.
Nash twists and flips up an awkward shot. No good.
Defending Pick-And Roll Ballhandler
Opponents FG Pct Last Season
This is often what it’s like to go up against Chandler if you’re a point guard who likes to run the pick-and-roll.
Chandler ranks above average when guarding the ballhandler on pick-and-roll plays. But what’s key is that he outranked the Knicks big men by a considerable margin (see chart on right).
More than capable offensively
There are two-and-a-half minutes left in the fourth quarter, with the Mavericks down a point to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kidd sets up Jason Terry for a 3-pointer from the left side that misses.
Tyson Chandler Career-Bests
Chandler skies over a Timberwolves defender for the rebound and goes right back up, while getting hacked.
The ball drops through the hoop, and Chandler converts a subsequent free throw. Dallas goes on to win by eight.
Let’s look at that play from four perspectives:
The rebound: Chandler rated sixth in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage, an estimate of how frequently he was able to rebound a missed shot from his teammates.
The re-elevation: Chandler held on to the ball. He averaged only 1.5 turnovers per 36 minutes last season, a career-best.
The finish: Chandler shot 64 percent on his putback attempts. He got fouled enough to score at least one point on nearly two-thirds of his putbacks, the sixth-best rate in the NBA.
The free throw: Chandler improved significantly on his free throw shooting the last two seasons, shooting them at 72 percent.
“If you talk about guys who have had an impact on the team and basically changed the culture, that’s Tyson Chandler. He’s probably done that better than anybody in the league this year.”
-- Mark Cuban prior to last year's All-Star Break
Chandler is not a player who will overwhelm you with his contributions. But at least last season, the sum was greater than its parts.
There's a stat on Basketball-Reference.com that requires multiple pages of explanation -- Win Shares. It's representative of the sum of the parts a player contributes and can be broken down into 48-minute segments. The parts come from making plays like those described above.
Last season only four players had a higher Win Share per 48 rate than Chandler: LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Chris Paul.
The Knicks can only hope he’ll be that valuable on both ends of the floor in 2011-12.