While I am not going to advocate him for team MVP or any such honor, Tyson Chandler's presence (and absence) has had nearly as much influence on the team's fortunes as any other Bobcat. Yes, someone who has committed a turnover on about 1 in 4 possessions he has used this season is also one of the biggest reasons the Bobcats lead the NBA in defensive efficiency. The Bobcats have 4 centers under contract, with Theo Ratliff being the most recent addition to the “replacing Emeka Okafor” spot, along with DeSagana Diop, Nazr Mohammed, and Tyson. Oh, and Boris Diaw has played a decent number of minutes at the 5 spot as well, due injuries, but also the effectiveness of the Bobcats with a smallball lineup. And guess what Boris and Tyson have in common? They are the 2 centers out of the 5 to have posted better defensive efficiencies than the Bobcats overall season marks. See below:
Note: There are some additional minutes at the 5 doled out to Alexis Ajinca and others – I only included the guys who had spent at least 100 minutes manning the middle.
Notice, that there is no middle ground – the Bobcats have either been bad defensively with you as their center or they have been very good (the defensive efficiencies shown above are only for players when they are at the 5 – time at other positions is not included). Boris and Tyson, take a bow. Well, Tyson – take a half bow, since you have only played about a half season. I kid, I kid – but consider some more numbers:
|Is Tyson Chandler
and 2/09 to 2/16)
(12/23 to 2/08
and 2/17 to 3/04)
|Again, Overall||101.5 (Tied for 1st in the NBA)|
Please catch this: Those are not the Bobcats numbers just when Tyson is on the floor – those numbers above are their overall defensive efficiency for the given time frames. When the Bobcats have had Tyson Chandler around, they are far and away the best defense in the NBA this season. However, that 105.2 mark would only be good enough for 11th in the league and combining the 11th best defense with the 23rd ranked offense does not keep them in their current standing, and probably does not even keep them in the playoff race. So, while Tyson's injury issues and turnover habits have been frustrating for fans, keep in mind the difference maker he has been when patrolling the lane this year (and cross your fingers he stays healthy for the playoffs (if the Bobcats make it – whew, came close there)).