Three Things to Know: Tyson Chandler was exactly what Lakers needed

Three Things to Know: Tyson Chandler was exactly what Lakers needed
Make It, Take It: Communication Remains The Timberwolves Biggest Issue, On And Off The Court
When you sign a seven-footer to an ultra-max deal, you are probably hoping he can drag your squad out of its perennial spot among the leagues worst defensive-rebounding teams. At the very least, youd hope that hed make it harder for Tyson Chandler to play volleyball for a whole minute. You might also be hoping that seven-footer will pull down contested defensive rebounds at a rate better than just a hair above DeAaron Fox. So far none of that has held true; the malicious Enes Kanter comparisons have taken on the depressing ring of truth.

And when that seven-footer is shooting an excellent 42 percent from three, youre expecting him to have an effective field goal percentage higher than 52 percent. But Towns has been ghastly in the post, shooting just 61 percent within three feet of the rim, after passing the 70 percent mark in each of his first three seasons. Hes also just taking fewer of those nutritious, high-value shots, replacing them with more shots from deep—which is well and good, especially given Minnesotas spacing issues—but also more shots from 3-10 feet than ever before, hitting them at just a 48 percent clip. The range is obviously there for Towns, but the all-court offensive versatility thats supposed to be his calling card is harder to discern. He seems to prefer to stay outside of the fray. Bombing from deep might just be some kind of escapist fantasy.

Thats a hilarious, nearly minute-long tip-drill of a possession; I urge you to watch it in its entirety. The Lakers miss all three of the shots they get up—and ornery 36-year-old Tyson Chandler, signed literally one day prior after the Phoenix Suns bought him out of his contract, just keeps getting them the damn ball back. LeBron James clangs a long three-pointer over Karl-Anthony Towns, and Chandler, tangled with poor hapless Andrew Wiggins under the rim, sneaks a hand out to slap the rebound out past halfcourt. Kyle Kuzma bricks an uncontested look from the corner, and Wiggins and Rose are too occupied with wrestling Chandler to be able to control the rebound, knocking it out of bounds and back to the Lakers. After the inbound, LeBron, gassed and completely out of ideas, pumps up a dead-legged 29-footer over Wiggins … and theres Chandler, untangling his limbs from Townss just long enough to volleyball-slap the ball back out to halfcourt, fucking again. At that point, with less than a single shot-clocks worth of time left to play, the Wolves had no choice but to foul intentionally.

Last nights 110-114 loss to the Lakers brought his struggles into the nationally televised spotlight. Initially Towns set out on a tear, draining his first four shots. He went on to make only one of his last 12 attempts, and that one went down with 2:05 to go in the second quarter. The second half was all tumbleweeds and bricks, no matter the defender. A solid height advantage over Kyle Kuzma didnt help. Perhaps hoping to wake up down the stretch, Towns demanded some post touches, only to fail to budge a whole wall of Tyson Chandler:

Chandler cant really do much of the stuff that once made him an all-star, a DPOY, and, as ESPNs Zach Lowe put it, the guy who damn near invented the modern archetype of rim-running, lob-catching center. He cant throw down alley-oops from outer space; he for sure cant do the thing he used to do, what feels like a thousand years ago, where hed jump to contest a shot and then instantly pogo-jump a second time to haul in the rebound. But those infuriating volleyball offensive rebounds are vintage Tyson Chandler, too, and thats a more durable skill. Anti-gravitational leaping ability wanes with time and back injuries, but absurdly long arms are forever. After just one day on the job, hes already used them to help deliver his new team a win.

Nor did he have much better luck trying to fake out Chandler from the wing on his very next trip down the floor:

KAT is also turning the ball over at a higher rate than ever before (he had six last night), and posting a -5.5 net rating on the season, which speaks to his continuing defensive struggles. As with most things going wrong in the greater Twin Cities area, much of the blame can be assigned to Thibs, who does not exactly deploy his chess pieces in the wisest ways. Towns is currently getting fewer field goals up than Derrick Rose, which makes sense in no universe except the one where Rose somehow shoots 7-of-9 from three, which is to say, a very fucking weird universe and not one you should ever expect to find yourself in consistently.

Butler does need to get out of town so this poor kid can troubleshoot without some maniac whispering cruel nothings into his ear, but until then, this might remain pretty ugly. You dont have to be some kind of body language mystic to see that Towns is out of it. Just take a look at this moment against the Raptors Oct. 24, when he hit nothing but (the bottom of the) net, pursed his lips, and yanked himself out of the game.

Who knows what the Lakers discussed in the ensuing timeout, or how exactly they planned on protecting or extending their teeny and endangered lead. Whatever they had in mind, I doubt it looked much like this:

If nothing else, its annoying to see all of Butlers obnoxious harumphing about KAT be proven even the slightest bit valid.

Besides, the Lakers are off to a relatively slow start this season. They have the mission of answering to the pressures put on them during the summer when LeBron James — the greatest player in the league today — joined the purple and gold.

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart jumped over the front row in an effort to save the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves. A fan saw it as an opportunity for a high-five. But things didn’t go well as he expected:

Video: Why Tyson Chandlers Lakers debut means so much for LA | The Jump

The Los Angeles Lakers got an immediate boost from their newest addition in their win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night, and many people believe LeBron James should be thanking one of his former teammates for that.

Video: Lakers Josh Hart jumps over front row, leaves fan hanging

Tyson Chandler cleared waivers this week after being granted a buyout from the Phoenix Suns, and he immediately signed a veteran minimum contract with the Lakers. Since its fairly unusual for a team to grant a player a buyout so early in the season, theres a belief that Suns interim general manager James Jones was doing LeBron a favor.

As observed, a fan casually extended his hand, hoping that Hart would notice. However, Hart was perhaps too focused on the game at hand and didn’t see the fan offering some love.

Locked On Suns Wednesday: Tyson Chandler out, Dragan Bender could follow him, and point guard news

When asked about the idea that Jones may have helped his friend out, LeBron did not exactly dispel the notion. Rather, he praised Jones for doing right by a veteran player and told ESPN he will have a spot in his front office for Jones if he ever owns an NBA franchise down the line.

Ex-Knicks Lakers debut goes perfectly

He deserves all the credit, LeBron said. He was very instrumental. He did right by Tyson as a veteran.

Video: LeBron James says Tyson Chandler gave the Lakers great minutes in win vs. Timberwolves | NBA Sound

James also joked that Jones needs an opt-out clause in his contract so he can come work for LeBrons team if LeBron ever decides to go that route.

Chandler gave back the $2.1 million he will make with the Lakers. What will Richaun Holmes do in his place?

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LeBron and Jones played together with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, and LeBron once referred to the former swingman as his favorite player of all time. Jones was a member of all three teams that LeBron won championships with.

One thing that isnt open for debate — the Lakers needed Chandler on Wednesday night. The veteran big man grabbed nine rebounds in 23 minutes and helped LA retain possession and hold a one-point lead when he tipped the ball out to his teammates after a missed shot with seconds remaining.

While it may seem like Magic Johnsons heated meeting with Luke Walton has sparked the Lakers, the addition of Chandler has the potential to be huge.

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Video: Tyson Chandler: Its great to rep the Lakers | NBA Sound

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