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What the Houston Rockets should expect from Tyson Chandler

Tyson Chandler #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Tyson Chandler #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The Rockets added former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler during free agency. Here’s what they should expect from Chandler this year!

This off-season, the Rockets signed former Defensive Player of the Year and former NBA champion Tyson Chandler, as they needed a back-up to Clint Capela. Chandler last played for the Lakers and showed his value, as he had 6 games in which he grabbed 5 or more offensive rebounds, and the Lakers went 5-1 during such games. He also had 8 games in which he had double digit rebounds, and the Lakers went 5-3 during those games as well.

He averaged 5.6 rebounds per night, good for 12.3 per 36 minutes. But Chandler was actually second on the team in offensive rebounds, as he grabbed 85 offensive boards despite not playing in 34 of the Lakers games last season. To put that in perspective, his 85 offensive rebounds would have ranked third on the Rockets team last year behind only Clint Capela and PJ Tucker. Despite that, this was the second fewest offensive rebounds he had in a season for his career. I’d expect Chandler to grab between 5-6 rebounds again, and grab between 2-3 offensive rebounds, as he had 1.8 offensive rebounds per game last year.

While playing for the Lakers, Chandler averaged 16.4 minutes per game, which is about what he would be expected to play at his age. But surprisingly, there were 15 games for the Lakers in which Chandler played 20+ minutes and the Lakers actually went 11-4 during such games. The Rockets likely will seldomly ask Chandler to play 20+ minutes, but there was a correlation of the amount of minutes he played and the amount of games the Lakers won.

The Lakers were in a different situation than the Rockets will be in, as the Rockets could very well bring Isaiah Hartenstein on the roster this season, which would mean a total of 3 centers when you include starter Clint Capela. The Lakers had only JaVale McGee last season so they likely needed Chandler to play more minutes. Chandler being on the roster also provides the Rockets with a legitimate defensive force at the reserve center spot, which the Rockets definitely didn’t have last season.

Chandler also played in 7 back-to-back games, of which the Lakers went 5-2. This is actually quite impressive considering that Chandler was 36 years old when the season started. In fact, Chandler only missed 3 back-to-back games for the Lakers, only because at that point, the Lakers were 31-38 and well out of playoff contention so it didn’t make sense to play him. Another interesting point is the fact that Chandler only played in 3 of the final 21 games the Lakers played in, so he should actually enter this season rested and in good shape. Chandler played in 875 total minutes on the year, which is the second fewest of his career for any season.

Chandler also still played solid defense, as he had a defensive field goal percentage of 48.1%, which was his best dating back to the 2015 season. Even in that season, his defensive field goal percentage was 47.7%, so the advanced numbers actually indicate that Chandler hasn’t had much of a drop off defensively over the years.

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I’m looking forward to seeing what Chandler does, but I actually expect him to have a bigger impact than he did on the Lakers last season. Hopefully this season will end with Chandler having his second championship of his career!

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