"It's definitely on my mind,'' Chandler says of his desire to do well in tonight's Hornets-at-Mavs matchup (7:30 at the AAC). "And I'm going to make it be known in the locker room. This will be huge for us. They're the only undefeated team in the league (at 8-0) and everybody's got to lose at some point. And it would be good for them to get a loss here.''
Chandler spent two-plus seasons in New Orleans during a period when the franchise experienced a great rush – featuring a franchise-record 56 wins. One of that team's trademarks was the Chris Paul-to-TC alley-oop. And one of its greatest accomplishments was topping Dallas in the first round of the 2008 NBA Playoffs.
"It seems like yesterday," says Chandler, 28.
That Hornets run ended, Chandler says, due to "a financial situation.'' In other words, the franchise couldn't afford him anymore. So he was bounced to Charlotte for an injury-plagued term before being acquired by the Mavs this summer in exchange for The DUST Chip. (Another "financial situation'' of a different sort, as TC is playing on the final year of a contract that pays him $12.6 mil this season.)
In that great '07-'08 season in New Orleans, Chandler averaged a career-best 11.8 points and 11.7 rebounds. Those numbers spoke volumes.
This year's Chandler numbers with the 6-2 Mavs do the same.
Let's update some of TC's impressive stats as of late Sunday:
*He has a PER of 19.0, an offensive rating of an amazing 145 and a defensive rating of 94.1 (good for third best in the NBA). Of players with over 100 minutes, Chandler leads the Mavs in both offensive and defensive ratings, and is third in PER behind Dirk Nowitzki (20.9) and Jason Terry (20.1).
Due to his limited possessions, and the fact that he rarely touches the ball on offense when not in a prime position to score, his offensive rating is somewhat skewed. But, it does show that he has been wildly effective when he does get his chances. Enough so, that if not for that lack of touches, he would lead the NBA in offensive rating.
*There are the less-advanced stats that jump out: The 7-1 Chandler is at 8.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He's shooting 74.1 percent from the floor and he's hitting 86.2 from the line.
*Then there are team-related numbers: Through eight games, the Mavs now lead the NBA by holding their opponents to 42-percent shooting from the floor. For the 2009-10 season, they ranked 15 in this category. That's a jump of 14 spots in the rankings, and an improvement of almost four percentage points from last year's 45.7 percent. … and that's largely Chandler.
Meanwhile, opponents are scoring 91.5 points per game, which ranks third in the NBA. Compare that to last season's Mavs rank of 15 by (and 99.3 points per contest).
*Another telling number: Where Chandler's presence may be felt the most is "shots taken within 10 feet of the basket.'' The Mavs are third in the NBA by only allowing teams to shoot for 39.2 percent. Teams are still getting close enough to amass the sixth most attempts in this range, but once there, they are finding the relentless activity of Chandler and company a hindrance.
Last year's Mavs foes were allowed to shoot 44.2 percent from the same range.
* One final collection of stats that may help to illustrate the breadth of Chandler's impact: using Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%), which adjusts standard field-goal percentage to account for the added weight of 3-point shots. The Mavs find themselves leading the league in the differential between their own eFG percentage (52.52) and their opponents (45.48) with a plus-7.04 percent variance.
Not only does this lead the league, it also compares very favorably to what they accrued last season, when their own eFG percentage was 50.5, while their opponents shot an eFG percent of 49.5: a variance of only plus-1.
The numbers speak volumes. Tyson Chandler speaks freely, too. The Mavs have two shots in three days – tonight at the AAC and Wednesday in New Orleans – to make a couple of statements.
"It's huge, because these games are important," Chandler explained to reporters over the weekend. "A lot of times people don't realize how important they are, because they say it's early in the season. But these are the types of wins or losses that will either be in your favor or haunt you at the end of the year, especially in the West where it always comes down to a game here or a game there. So, you want to get as many as possible."