Bringing Tyson Chandler back to Dallas may be the biggest move the Mark Cuban and company made this off-season. Don’t get me wrong, stealing Chandler Parsons from the Rockets was a huge move. And Dallas did have to give up Jose Calderon to get Tyson and an aging Raymond Felton. But he is the key that will push the Mavs deep into the playoffs.
1. Dallas hasn’t had much of a post presence since Chandler left
It has been a revolving door of big men after winning the Finals in the 2010-2011 season. The list includes Brendan Heywood, Ian Mahinmi, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, DeJuan Blair, Samuel Dalembert, and many backups. The only consistency has been Dirk Nowitzki, and the Brandan Wright as the second string. None of these players were nearly as good as chandler on either side of the court, and aside from Blair they were all past their prime. Most of the time, Dirk was forced to play center while Shawn Marion was moved to power forward. This created plenty of opportunities for the like of Tim Duncan, Serge Ibaka, and others.
Chandler’s return means fewer easy chances in the lane for opponents, and will give more of an offensive post presence that isn’t a Nowitzki high kick fade away.
2. Rebounds and defense were what was missing the most last season
Even with a seemingly unspectacular group of guys last year, the Dallas Mavericks finished 8th in the league in points per game (104.8) and 6th in assists per game (23.6). So how did they barely make the playoffs? Might have something to do with finishing 20th in points allowed (102.4 per game) and 26th in rebounds per game (40.9). This is why Dallas felt they needed Tyson back. He’ll lock down the paint and make sure there are no easy shots taken uncontested, and his physical presence will help secure more rebounds.
What about those big men they had in the past? Most of them were offensive minded, aside from Heywood. And although most were around seven feet tall, only Heywood was a shot blocker. Not to mention that Dirk is only an average defender and rebounder and Marion was undersized to be much of a presence. Chandler will help secure things down low.
3. Point guard, small forward weren’t that big of needs in the off-season
Everyone seemed to get caught up in the hype that Dallas was targeting bigger-name small forwards this summer. But when you take a look at who they’ve had playing there since when they won the NBA Finals in 2011: Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, Steve Novak, Lamar Odom, Vince Carter, and Jae Crowder who’s still there. Like the centers since then, not too many star players and none of them were at the top of their game. The main reason they went after Melo and Parsons is, for the most part, about having an extra boost on offense while having a more marketable player. Plus with the maturation of Crowder and having Ricky Ledo set for a breakout year, it’s just an added bonus to get Parsons (not too mentinon also signing Richard Jefferson and Al-Farouq Aminu).
As for point guard, the Mavs seemed to be set with Calderon, Devin Harris, and an improving Gal Mekel running the offense. Then they decided to add Jameer Nelson, and in the trade for Tyson had to give away Calderon and get Felton in return. Now the position is almost too crowded, so that means someone is going to have to sacrifice some playing time. We could see some shuffling of lineups, having two point guards in when Monta Ellis is on the bench, but I wouldn’t expect too much of that.
With both point and small forward over crowded, it only helps to show that the key move was in fact to get Chandler. Yes, those were key additions as well, but Tyson Chandler is what changed this team from a low seed in the playoffs to having a shot at the Finals.