Between the Knicks' covetousness and CBSSports' throw-a-blanket-over-'em approach, it seems every star is New York-bound.
Ken Berger's CBS report Sunday, in short, goes something like this: In addition to Carmelo Anthony being close to moving to the Knicks, Jazz point guard Deron Williams has always planned to follow Amare to New York. Somehow Berger manages to also work the names Chris Paul and Dwight Howard into Knicks-related prospects.
And then CBS writes: Even if the Knicks didn't get Anthony at all, sources say there are those within the organization who believe the team would be better off filling more obvious needs -- a defensive-minded center and backup point guard -- while preserving cap space for a run at one of those free agents, or even center Tyson Chandler, who will be unrestricted this summer.
OR? You mean the Knicks can't just sign Melo AND Paul AND Amare AND Deron AND Dwight AND Tyson?
The attraction to Chandler is an obvious one. But it's a league-wide one. DallasBasketball.com's exclusive visit with Tyson informed you of his thoughts on his future (see bottom of page) ...
And now, before the Knicks gobble him up, we thought we'd break down his influence on the present. Especially as it compares to the Mavs' past. Let us tear into "The Chandler Effect.'' ...
There has been a lot of debate lately about whether this year's version of the Dallas Mavericks is any different than the teams that have consistently floundered in the early stages of the playoffs in years past. It seems that anyone who claims "this is the year" does so because of the Tyson Chandler Effect. Anyone who cares to listen will hear quotes from coaches, players, media, and fans praising Tyson's energy, hustle and focus. Is that all it is? Does a little hustle and focus really account for a four-point difference in points allowed from this time last year?
No. That's the short answer.
Let us help you with the long answer.
Tyson Chandler's effect on the defense of this team comes down to far more than simple effort and focus. One of the Mavs' greatest weaknesses has been the inability to effectively negate the offense's screen and roll. Watch this recap of last year's Game 6 against San Antonio (I know, it brings back bad memories for me, too). Pay special attention to the Spurs offensive possessions in this clip.
Notice anything? Each and every time the Spurs guards turn the corner they are dribbling at a back peddling center. That's bad defense. When the defensive player back peddles he causes all sort of defensive problems. He gives ground to the ball handler to continue down the lane or pull up for the shot. He also forces his teammates to scramble defensively. Watch again, as the five man drops back, the guard must continue to fight over (or under) the screen to contest the dribble.
This leaves the roll man uncovered heading to the rim. Because of this the other big (often Dirk) has to rotate down towards the basket and leave a shooter. By backing down from the dribbler the center causes a defensive chain reaction that eventually leads to an uncontested shot or a foul from someone rotating late. Had Chandler been in this situation, he could have stepped to Ginobili and stopped his forward progress which would have allowed Butler to recover and Tyson to return to Duncan, instead of Dirk having to completely leave George Hill open in the corner to make up for Haywood's retreat.
Now check out this clip (h/t Rob Mahoney) from the final series of the recent Mavericks win in Sacramento.
See the difference? First look at how much ground Chandler covers on the play. He comes down to the block from the far elbow to cover the player Dirk left to trap Udrih. Then when the ball swings across the top of the key Tyson is almost immediately back to the elbow. As the play unfolds you'll notice Chandler step out, or hedge, aggressively on Evans.
As soon as TY sees Evans turn the corner on Kidd he steps to the ball (the exact opposite of what Haywood and Dampier did in the previous clip). This effectively stops the forward momentum of the ball handler while allowing his teammates time to rotate. Dirk slides into the paint to stop Cousins, and Barea slides down to cover Landry. Evans, by virtue of being an athletic freak, continues to the baseline and makes a nice pass to Landry. However, due in large part to Chandler's ability to stay close to Evans on the drive, Landry can't even sniff a good shot attempt (he is eventually smothered by Chandler and blocked by Dirk.
There are several other examples of this type of play from Chandler. In fact, in many late clock or late game situations Chandler will actually switch out onto the dribbler. Obviously he can do this because of his great quickness and length where someone like Haywood or Dampier would simply get left behind by the likes of Evans or Ginobili.
Because of TY's great screen and roll defense this year's edition of the Mavericks don't have to spend so much time scrambling to close out on perimeter shooters. They can afford to play much closer to their man than in years past.
But Chandler doesn't only affect the defense. He creates room for Dirk and the "Dirkettes" on the offensive end, as well. In the next clip we see Chandler and Terry run the two-man game with a handoff at the elbow. As Terry turns the corner you can see what a bad position the Hawks defenders find themselves in.
I've circled Al Horford. He is in the worst position of all. He has to decide whether or not he is going to step up on Terry to prevent the easy free-throw line jumper or stick to Chandler's body to prevent the alley-oop. What does he do?
Horford really has no good option here. He can't afford to leave Terry open at the foul line and he can't afford to leave physical contact with Chandler as he heads to the rim. Horford's problem is exacerbated by the fact that he has no help. Johnson isn't willing to leave Kidd alone in his favorite spot and Smith can't step up to stop Terry because Marion has eliminated Crawford's ability to help him if Shawn rolls by setting a nice flair screen for Pavlovic. Anytime Chandler sets a ball screen someone has to maintain physical contact as he goes to the rim, or risk a momentum changing alley-oop.
The same thing happens on dribble penetration. Watch this highlight for the Clippers last visit to the AAC.
On the initial screen roll we can actually see that Terry forces a pull up when Tyson was uncovered on the roll.
Here, Griffin is so far away from where he should be (in the middle of the lane, especially when Marion is in the corner) that he wouldn't be able to do anything but foul Chandler if Terry had dumped the ball down. After the shot is missed and the Mavericks recover (thanks to Marion's heads-up back tap) Terry again finds himself free of his defender and headed down the lane.
This time the Clippers defender has to decide whether he is going to stop Terry's advance, or keep contact with Tyson to stop the lob pass. The choice is clear, as anyone who has ever played junior high ball knows, stop the ball. He does, and then Chandler finishes the play. Anytime the defense leaves Chandler's body there is a very good chance that TY is going to be on the receiving end of an easy lob pass. In these situations the defense has to choose whether they are going to leave the dribbler free or step up and stop the ball. Obviously Dampier and Haywood don't command as much respect.
The additional space this can create for the Mavericks' shooters (especially when Peja and Roddy B really get going) is something that is markedly different than in previous campaigns.
The extra space Chandler creates on offense and the stellar defense he offers against the screen and roll are just two of the major reasons this team could be able to avoid another disappointing post-season. Does it come down to the energy, hustle, and focus Tyson brings to the table?
As you can see, it's that ... and more.In a way, TY's name being tossed into the Knicks mix is a compliment. It means that somebody is taking notice of the things you've seen Chandler do all season. And after scanning through this "Coach 'Em' Up'' edition of TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC, maybe you'll take even more notice of the little things he does to make that four-point difference. Before he and Deron and Paul and Melo and Dwight all run off to the Knicks, that is.
Will Fain played at Abilene Christian, spent the last five years coaching at Liberty Christian School and is currently teaching English at God Cares High School in Bbira, Uganda, East Africa. (The ministry is ugandabuyamba.com with a focus on providing school sponsorships for orphans and disadvantaged kids because there is no public school system there and students have to pay their own way. We're glad to have Will aboard at DB.com!