Tyson Chandler has only played three games with the Los Angeles Lakers, but veteran center is already paying major dividends. The Lakers are 3-0 since Chandler joined and he his play down the stretch helped clinch victories in two of those games, capped off by his block at the buzzer to lift the Lakers over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Lakers’ need for a backup center was well-known early in the season, but no one could have predicted the impact Chandler would have. “He’s been big. Not only the way he plays on the court, but the way he talks in the huddles,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said.
“The way he communicates, practices, and then finishing out games with winning plays. Whether it’s in Sacramento diving into the crowd. At home getting tip out after tip out. And [Sunday] on the defensive end with the block shot, winning type of plays. We’re very happy we have him.”
Having the right mix of veterans and youth is crucial to success in the NBA, and Chandler has brought much-needed balance to the Lakers roster. His presence has solidified the second unit while lessening the workload on starter JaVale McGee.
Now in his 18th season, Chandler knows exactly what his role is and how to be effective on the court. This has allowed Walton to insert him into the rotation immediately and be trusted in crunch time situations. And as Walton has noted, Chandler gives the team another vocal leader for the young players to listen to.
Whether he can keep up this level of play remains to be seen, but the impact is being felt immediately and Walton and the rest of the Lakers are thankful he is on the team. And though Chandler is being credited for providing a spark, he’s deflected focus to the Lakers’ overall play.