Rockets: Players that could replace Christian Wood — 9. Tyson Chandler
So I know what you’re thinking upon seeing the name Tyson Chandler so I’ll beat you to the punch. Yes, Chandler is old (in basketball years), as he turned 38 in October.
No, he’s not the same player that won Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12, and he’s also not the player that made three All-Defensive teams. However, he is still the same player that LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were pursuing in 2018-19, as they knew he was still capable of providing valuable contributions, even at a later stage of his career.
Chandler played with the Rockets last season, averaging 1.3 blocks and one steal per 36 minutes, marking the first time he held such averages since the aforementioned season in which he won the Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, Chandler made 77.8 percent of his shots, which is a career-best by a whopping ten percent, which he had during the same season that he took home the trophy for the league’s top defensive player.
Chandler obviously couldn’t be relied on to start, but he could provide 12-18 minutes of efficient play on both ends of the court while Wood is out. In addition, Chandler’s veteran presence could work wonders on a Rockets team that possesses more youth than we’ve seen in recent memory, and especially for rookie Jae’Sean Tate.
Chandler took on the role of a player’s coach last season for the Rockets, which he explained during the league’s hiatus. “My presence, especially with this team, is a lot in the locker room; a lot of the day-to-day things, a lot in practice.”
Former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni added to that, stating, “We rely on him to talk us through things.”
D’Antoni added that Chandler was the consummate professional, which was on display on several occasions last season. This was especially the case when the Rockets opted to go with the small ball strategy, which saw him play just nine minutes through the final 31 games of the season.
Chandler could provide a steady veteran presence for Christian Wood even after he returns from his injury, as he could provide tutelage to Wood on how to continue to work on his craft, both on and off the court, as he lasted 19 years in the league, which not many players can say.
Although Chandler hasn’t been signed to this point, there should be very little doubt about his conditioning and ability to contribute right away, and if there is, he eased those with a simple quote: “I’m right here and I’m ready.”
Next: No. 8