When Dwight Howard announced that he would sit out the London Olympics due to his back injury, Team USA realized they had a bit of a problem on their hands at filling the center position.
Roy Hibbert had become a member of the Jamaican national team, Andrew Bynum decided he needed to use the time to rest his knees, and DeMarcus Cousins was...well, DeMarcus Cousins. Kentucky standout and No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis could fill the role, but he was viewed as a bit too green and more of a power forward.
Enter Tyson Chandler.
Chandler, who often struggled early in his career with injuries and personality conflicts, has seen a career resurgence since joining the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks. Always a superb defensive player, Chandler was a critical component to Dallas's championship team, serving as the interior presence on defense that forced Miami to take less than desirable shots instead of driving to the basket.
Despite being known primarily as a defensive player, Chandler has become quite a good offensive player as well.
Last season, in his first year as a member of the New York Knicks, Chandler made a jaw-dropping 67.9 per cent of his field goals, the third highest single season performance in NBA history. He averaged 11.3 points per game, the second highest total of his career, and pulled down 9.9 rebounds and blocked 1.4 shots per game, all while earning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
Chandler may not have been Team USA's first choice, but he is clearly the best center playing in this year's Olympics, and his strong defensive presence and excellent shot selection are the perfect complements to his teammates.