The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.
Can ______________ be the ______-best player on a ____________ team?
It’s a common sentence structure I don’t particularly like, because the answer is usually, “In the right circumstances.” For example:
Can Tyson Chandler be the second-best player on a championship team?
At nearly any point in Chandler’s career, the answer would have been a comfortable no. But for one magical stretch, it was a confirmed yes.
Next to Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler was the second-best player on the Mavericks 2011 title team.
Dallas traded for Chandler prior to that season and lost him in free agency afterward. That means the Mavericks have won a championship every single season Chandler has played for them. So much of how high a player can rank on a good team depends on the pieces around him, and Dallas was perfect for Chandler – and vice versa.
Now, Chandler is back with the Mavericks, who are looking to keep the title-with-Chandler streak alive.
It’ll be much more difficult this time.
The Mavericks watched Chandler leave for the Knicks in 2011, because his contract was too expensive. After letting New York have Chandler for the cheapest three years of the deal while he was youngest, Dallas will pay a 32-year-old Chandler $14,846,888 this season.
Maybe a little too desperate to chase history?
Chandler might have trade value now as an expiring contract, but I doubt Mark “Rockets don’t value chemistry” Cuban flips the center. Besides, Chandler could significantly help the Mavericks again.
Nowitzki is the only other player on the title team remaining, but it was his fit with Chandler that stood out, anyway. On both ends of the floor, they complement each other well – Chandler scoring inside and Nowitzki from mid-range, Chandler protecting the rim and Nowitzki helping just enough on the glass. They’ll have to adjust for a new supporting cast on the perimeter, but this is a nice start.
Plus, I trust Rick Carlisle, who coached the 2011 Mavericks, to use Chandler optimally again. Carlisle is one of the NBA’s best coaches when it comes to playing to his player’s strengths, and he’s already proven he can put Chandler in position to succeed.
Will Chandler help the Mavericks win another title? I doubt it.
But he should make them better, and they him. Both sides know what they’re getting into – a relationship that results in satisfyingly good basketball. I’ll take that.