When the season started, the Los Angeles Lakers had a glaring hole to fill at backup center. It felt as though any time JaVale McGee would step off the court, the defense would fall apart.
Well, those prayers were answered earlier this week when veteran Tyson Chandler was bought out by the Phoenix Suns, cleared waivers and was immediately signed by the Lakers. Although Chandler is well past his prime, he still shown exactly what he’s capable of.
If Chandler can provide solid defense and consistent minutes in the rotation, the defense should improve enough to make this Lakers team dangerous. And though he’s being championed as a savior of sorts, Chandler is just as honored to be playing with LeBron James.
“Man, honestly I can’t describe it. It’s amazing. I haven’t played with a closer like that since Dirk. To be able to have him close out games, now I know how special he is on both ends,” Chandler said after a recent win.
Chandler went on to explain his goal is to alleviate some of the workload James must carry. “I just want to take some of the pressure off of him,” Chandler said. “The more pressure I can take off of him, it will free him up to do all the special things that he’s been doing his entire career.”
Chandler has done exactly that through his early tenure with the Lakers. In a late-game situation when the Lakers were trying to hold onto the lead against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Chandler helped the Lakers retain possession with multiple offensive rebounds in the final minute.
He followed that up by also delivering a game-winning block at the buzzer against the Atlanta Hawks. These are the types of things Chandler has been doing his whole career, and something that age should have little to no effect on.