Although the Los Angeles Lakers are very early on in the Tyson Chandler era, all signs point to positive things from the 18-year veteran. Head coach Luke Walton clearly seemed to think so when he played Chandler for 23 minutes in his first game with the team, including the final minutes of the game, where Chandler set huge screens and got game-changing offensive rebounds.
Walton complimented Chandler’s play in the win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, specifically his ability to help create opportunities. “We put a film session together and called it, ‘The screening assist.’” Walton began.
“A majority of those assists that we got because of the screen, were from [Chandler]. JaVale had a couple nice ones, there were some other ones in there throughout the game, but he is getting people open.”
Rajon Rondo, who played the same crunch time minutes as Chandler, spoke about how important Chandler was in getting that victory. “He’s definitely an enforcer. No knock on anyone that’s here, but he’s by far the best pick setter we have,” Rondo said.
Of course, the veteran point guard snuck in a friendly jab, saying, “He set about 14 to 18 screens last game, and maybe 12 were illegal.”
Rondo also drew similarities between Chandler’s strength in setting picks and what Kevin Garnett did for the Boston Celtics. “He sets the tone from jump. He kind of reminds how KG used to set picks, how no one really gets over them,” Rondo said. “To have a guy like that is going to be a huge help to our team.”
While Chandler is working to get acclimated with new teammates, the process should essentially be stress-free.
“The first meeting, I said, ‘From what I’ve heard about you, I just want you to be yourself and be it from Day 1. The moment you get in here, we need the talking, we need everything. Don’t feel like you need to get comfortable first, we have a great group of guys here,’” Walton said.
It’s clear that although Chandler is not the all-NBA defensive player he used to be, he should still play a vital role for the Lakers. And Walton and Rondo, who are constantly praised for having excellent basketball minds, both know just how important Chandler will be for this team moving forward.
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