Tyson Chandler over Brook Lopez: Right or Wrong?
I would make that face too, Brook.
When All-Star reserves were announced yesterday, several Nets fans were up in arms. Some are just madly in love with Deron Williams, who’s clearly been under-performing this year, while others want justification for Joe Johnson’s large contract. The majority, though, fairly question the inclusion of Tyson Chandler over Brook Lopez.
The Knicks starting Center is scoring 6 less points per contest, not blocking shots at the rate Lopez is, and loses the Player Efficiency Rating battle by 4. So why did he get in over Brook? The truth may be that NBA coaches, who have a say in the decision, are displeased with the firing of Avery Johnson. Regardless of this fact, let’s look at the numbers when the two match-up together.
Brook Lopez vs NY (Avg): 17.3 Pts, 45% FG, 10.7 Reb, 3.3 Blk, 2.3 TO, 0.3 Stl
Tyson Chandler vs BKN (Avg): 14.0 Pts, 73% FG, 10.0 Reb, 0.8 Blk, 1.0 TO, 1.0 Stl
When you look at it this way, Chandler gets the slight edge at first glance. Regardless of the difference in shooting percentage, Chandler is taking care of the ball considerably better, and while he’s not blocking shots on defense, he’s getting steals. Tyson Chandler won Defensive Player of the Year last season not because of blocks (He was tied for 17th in the NBA with 1.4 per game); rather because he made the Knicks considerably better in stopping opponents. This is why it’s not that surprising votes were not cast for Lopez, even though he is playing very well this year.
It’s a bit strange, however, that voters wouldn’t select the Center who leads everyone at his position in scoring. Out of the top-scoring Centers the past 5 seasons, 4 made the All-Star team (Al Jefferson last year was the exception). While it’s nice to have a great defensive Center who makes his team better, you win games by putting the ball in the basket – which Brook Lopez is doing a tremendous job of this year. He’s one of the best in the post, and he also has a pretty nice mid-range game. And let’s not forget, he’s blocking shots at the seventh-highest rate in the league.
When you go up against the Defensive Player of the Year and only miss matching scoring your season scoring average by one point, you’re doing your job well. You’re also showing that you’re beating him at the best part of his game. This is why Brook Lopez should be in the All Star Game, and upon further review, gets the best of Tyson Chandler.
Interim Coach PJ Carlisemo was upset with the snub of his players, saying "They must just feel our chemistry is unbelievable because we’re winning games with limited talent here." While he’s understandably sticking up for his squad, this is a blessing in disguise for him. If he’s able to win just one playoff series, he can point to the fact he did so with no All-Stars. That should help him stay with the Nets…or the fact that he’s won 12 of his first 14 games. Either way, he’s performing extremely well, and so is Brook Lopez. Both deserve something.