Tyson Chandler has become the heart and soul of the New York Knicks. A good argument can be made that he is their MVP so far this season although from statistical standpoint that may be hard to see. The Knicks center has brought a new tenacity that New York has been lacking since the days of Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, Marc Jackson, John Starks and Patrick Ewing. The 7-foot-1 Chandler is now the defensive backbone of the Knicks. He’s been a 71% shooter from the field this season and 72% foul shooter heading into the All-Star break. Although the point can be made that he puts up many layups and slams home many alley-oops, he’s been everything the Knicks needed down low.
No.6 is without a doubt the leader of the New York locker room and is ready to get this team on the right page for the second half of the season. Tyson Chandler joined WQAM in Miami with Michael Irvin to discuss his personal evaluation of Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lin being the real deal in terms of his talent, building team chemistry with Carmelo Anthony back and bringing playoff leadership to a Knicks team that has been lacking that element in the locker room for quite some time.
You come to New York after winning a championship with Dallas and have this Linsanity man. What a roller coaster ride this has been?
“Oh man it has been absolutely crazy. He has been the perfect combination, mix to throw into everything that we have been going through. The guy just has an unbelievable personality. The most humble kid you ever met and he can actually play. It is no fluke. Myself, I was waiting watching and seeing how he would handle certain situations, but the kid can actually play. He got his shot and he’s gonna be around and good for a long time.”
What situations were you most intrigued to watch with Jeremy Lin?
“Well, just that you know we really didn’t have a leader at the point guard position. It’s unfair to a lot of my teammates. We had a lot of guys playing out of position. We had a lot of two guards and a lot of natural scorers that weren’t use to being facilitators. We were asking them: Hey look now all of a sudden you have to get the ball to Melo [Carmelo Anthony] in the right spot, gotta get the ball to Amar’e Stoudemire and also I want you to play the pick and roll with Tyson. That’s difficult. That’s not what you have been doing your entire life. At the beginning of the season we struggled because I don’t care who you put on the court if you don’t have somebody to give them the ball it doesn’t matter. Same thing with you [Michael Irvin]. If you don’t have a quarterback that can get you the rock, I don’t care how great of a receiver you can be it is not going to work out. We finally got a facilitator. It’s just about everybody getting on the right page and making a push.”
What do you say to people who say you guys are better off without Carmelo Anthony?
“I think that is total madness. Any time you got a player that is top 10 player in the world, top 5 scorer in the world, you can’t tell me that you are not going to be better without him. It’s all about building team chemistry. We have to get every body to buy in to going after a championship. If everybody’s mind is going after a championship and that is everyone’s vision and everyone’s goal it doesn’t matter who is on the court at what time because we all should be playing for the same thing. We all should be playing unselfish and on defense we should all be getting after it. As long as we have that mindset there’s no reason why we can’t be successful and be contenders this year. I like our chances better with Melo because when he gets into the heart of things in the playoffs and in the clutch we need that go to guy. Melo is that guy. He’s been that guy his entire career.”
How much does it help the Knicks that you just went through the whole playoff situation and got a ring last season?
“I think it really helps because I just experienced it. I just went through it and I know what it takes to win a championship and that’s what I preached to my teammates every single day. It’s not a we can just turn the light on and flip the switch and all of a sudden we are going to be champions. No. It’s every single day. It’s in film. It’s in practice. It’s in walk through. It’s in the locker room before the game. It’s post game. It’s during the game. We have to have the right mentality all the time and we have to build the same chemistry, so when we are faced with adversity we don’t break.”