Tyson Chandler is no stranger to the sunshine of California, as he was born only three hours away from the Staples Center in Hanford, CA.
It was only a matter of time before his career path led him back home. That was accomplished when the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Chandler off of waivers on Nov. 6 after he parted ways with the Phoenix Suns.
Since acquiring Chandler, the Lakers are 3-0 with Chandler having a monumental role down the stretch in two of those victories.
The first being a big box-out over Karl-Anthony Towns and a key offensive rebound versus the Minnesota Timberwolves with the Lakers holding on to a one-point lead with just under 14 seconds remaining.
The second one was a blocked shot as time expired on rookie sensation Trae Young to secure a one-point victory over the Atlanta Hawks. In case you missed it:
TYSON CHANDLER COMES UP WITH THE GAME-SAVING BLOCK ON TRAE YOUNG!
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) November 12, 2018
What can the 17-year veteran possibly do to make the Lakers a playoff threat?
For starters, the veteran experience and knowledge that this Lakers team already possessed before Chandler arriving cannot go unnoticed.
With Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee all knowing that their role is to bring that skill and IQ that has gotten them this far in the league to help the young players like Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram.
The Lakers have been historically bad on defense so far this year, allowing 115.5 PPG which ranks 25th in the NBA. Adding a three-time NBA All-Defensive player who such as Chandler will likely rub off on the entire roster.
The main issue and probable cause with the Lakers’ early season woes stemmed from Luke Walton being unable to find somebody to protector the rim when McGee would head to the bench. McGee has gotten off to his best career start on the defensive side of the ball, averaging 3.0 BPG, earning Defensive Player of the year advocacy from LeBron.
The Lakers have been starving for additional depth in their front-court behind McGee. That interior protection without McGee was simply not going to come from Ivica Zubac, Johnathon Williams, the then injured Moe Wagner, LeBron, or anybody that was slotted at the five.
Adding Chandler has filled that hole in the Lakers’ defense thus far.
Having Chandler as that anchor on the back-end of the defense will allow him to orchestrate and put his teammates in the proper locations on the court.
As we have seen in the first few games with the Lakers, Walton has elected to go with Chandler at the five to close out games.
Given the comments that LeBron James gave Yahoo Sports last week, it seems that the decision to play Chandler in late-game situations has turned the tides for the Lakers’ season as well as LeBron’s outlook.
“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into.’” – LeBron James
When the playoffs come rolling around, each possession will need to be contested and defensive efforts get kicked up a notch. Match-ups are broken down and each team tries to take away their opponents best option.
For the Lakers, the defensive prowess that they have in the front-court now with both McGee and Chandler allows them to never be at a disadvantage in terms of interior defense.
Chandler to the Lakers might not be the sexiest addition and given the Jimmy Butler saga ending with his trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, it is definitely to be overlooked, but let it not be ignored as the Lakers appear to find their footing.