Next Steps: Tyson Chandler

Jonah Ballow
KnicksNow.com

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Fresh off a Defensive Player of the Year award and a gold medal trip to the Olympics last summer, Tyson Chandler led the Knicks in rebounding and blocked shots in 2012-13.  The big man managed to play 66 games, average 10.7 boards and 1.1 blocks while battling a debilitating neck injury and a couple of bouts with the flu late in the season.

After falling short of a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, Chandler quickly turned his focus to personal improvements he will strive for this offseason, “Becoming a better player, getting stronger, working on my game, everything I try to accomplish every summer.”

Chandler revealed to reporters at Monday’s exit interviews that he suffered from significant weight loss, which ultimately limited his strength against the Celtics and Pacers big men during the postseason.  There should be a natural healing process for Chandler over the next couple of weeks but head coach Mike Woodson would like Chandler to develop some added strength over the summer.

“Tyson physically has to get back.  I think he has to get on a weight program and try to bulk up a little bit.  We have talked about that some as well as trying to develop a little bit on the low block and feel good about it,” Woodson stated.

As the head man intimated, Chandler will work to create a well-rounded offensive game.  For most of his career, Chandler has damaged opponents by rolling to the rim on pick-and-rolls for highlight reel alley-oop dunks. 

Both Chandler and Woodson agreed the Knicks offense needs a presence in the post, which can originate from the 7-1 All-Star.

“He mentioned yesterday [Monday] that he wants to establish something and I want to help him because I think big guys should be able to catch the ball and play offense and rebound the ball instead of tapping it out and rebound the ball and to go back up and perhaps get a foul or score a bucket,” Woodson explained. 

Chandler is ready to evolve, adapt, and become a point of emphasis in New York’s offensive attack.

“I definitely want to be a more involved, more consistent on the offensive end,” Chandler asserted.  “I would like for us to develop some consistency with the offensive game plan.  Right now we are a jump shooting team and I would like us to have a more free flowing offense that we all can be comfortable with and we’ll go from there.”

There is certainly room for a threat on the blocks as the Knicks only ran true post-ups on 8.3 percent of their possessions according to Synergy Sports.  Chandler has displayed a nice over the shoulder hook and an underrated jumper inside the paint.  He also shot nearly 70 percent at the stripe this past season. 

At 30 years old, Chandler is preparing for the next step in his career that already features an NBA championship, a gold medal, and a Defensive Player of the Year trophy.  The 2013 summer project for Chandler is an exciting next step that should pay major dividends for the Knicks in their search for a title in 2014.

WATCH Chandler's exit interview here.


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