Most fans and analysts believe Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire are the two leaders of the New York Knicks. In fact though, it’s Tyson Chandleris who is by far the most important player for the Knicks to be successful next season.
The old saying in all sports is offense wins games, but defense wins championships.
Chandler single-handedly set the defensive tempo and attitude for the Knicks this past season. Before he joined the team, it was almost as if they didn’t even know what defense was. The defensive statistics for the New York Knicks before and after Chandler’s arrival are like night and day.
During the 2010-11 regular season, the Knicks were third-to-last in the NBA in points allowed per game with 105.7. They were also one of the bottom five teams in the league in opponent’s field-goal percentage by allowing opponents to shoot 47.2 percent from the field against them.
After the addition of Chandler, both of these statistics drastically improved. They allowed an incredible 11 points per game less than the previous season. There was only one team in the league that had a bigger improvement in this category than the Knicks did. They also went from the bottom five in opponent’s field-goal percentage to the top 10, allowing other teams to only shoot 44.2 percent from the field against them.
To get a better feel for just how big of an impact Chandler made on the defensive end last season, let’s take a look at his individual defensive statistics. Not only was Chandler one of the top shot blockers at the center position, averaging 1.44 blocks per game, but he also was fourth out of all centers in steals.
Chandler manned the paint for the Knicks, protecting the rim from anyone who tried to score down low against them. Even if he couldn’t get his hand on the ball, he still made a major impact disrupting opposing shooters and affecting their shots.
Last season, the Knicks were fourth in the league in opposing teams' shooting percentage at the rim, only allowing teams to score 48.7 percent of the time from that distance.
Chandler’s defensive efforts were rewarded with him earning the Defensive Player of the Year Award as well as being named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the second time in his career.
Besides his defense, which was hands down the best on the team, Chandler is also the most important player to the team’s success because he is the most efficient scorer that the Knicks have. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire might put up more points than Chandler, but it also takes them twice or even three times as many field goals attempts to do so.
Even though Chandler only averaged 5.7 field goal attempts per game, he still had a scoring average in double figures and was third on the team in points. Not only was Chandler the most efficient scorer on the team in 2012, but he was the most efficient scorer in the entire league.
His field-goal percentage was 67.9 percent. This blew away any other player in the entire NBA, as Dwight Howard, who had the second best field-goal percentage in the league, only shot 57.3 percent from the field.
The combination of Chandler being by far the best defender as well as the most efficient scorer on the team makes him extremely vital to the team’s success. No other player on the team, not even Melo or STAT, can say they bring as much to the table on both ends of the floor as Chandler does.