New York Knicks: Why Tyson Chandler Deserves an All-Star Appearance This Season

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New York Knicks: Why Tyson Chandler Deserves an All-Star Appearance This Season
Al Bello/Getty Images

When you look at Tyson Chandler's resume, it's hard to believe that he hasn't yet recorded a single All-Star appearance in his career.

He has long been considered one of the best leaders and defensive players in the NBA, and has improved tremendously as an all-around player since he joined the Dallas Mavericks in 2010.

After leaving Dallas with a ring last offseason, Chandler has been even more dominant with the New York Knicks, and should be on the way to his first All-Star appearance this coming February.

Along with early-season MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony and a deep supporting cast, Chandler has been a big reason for New York's early success, as they currently sit atop the Eastern Conference.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has shown us more of what we've come to expect on the defensive side of the floor, helping the Knicks to maintain the focus he established last season.

Chandler is the Knicks' emotional leader on D, and though he may not have the blocked shot numbers of some of his other center counterparts, he has done a great job of holding down the paint.

But we already know about Chandler's great defense—what has been even more impressive are his improvements on offense.

Whilst Chandler may not have a jump shot or a go-to post move, the efficiency and smarts he has displayed on offense have made him an effective player there.

As limited as he may be, he has been one of the league's best big men in the pick-and-roll, and has been allowed to focus on his strengths rather than his weaknesses in this Knicks offense.

With all the shooters around him, Chandler has been allowed to simply set screens and clean up the offensive boards; two things he simply excels at.

Momentum-changing plays like this have been something we've come to expect from Chandler this season.

The results are some fascinating offensive numbers, even if his 13 points per game doesn't sound particularly impressive.

Chandler is on pace to become the first player since the great Wilt Chamberlain to shoot at 70 percent for an entire season.

In tandem with Raymond Felton and the rest of the Knicks' point guards, he is finding good looks inside, where he has a .713 effective field goal percentage on the season. You can criticize him for not doing much scoring outside of dunks and tip-ins, but scoring so economically only helps his team.

Last season, Chandler broke the NBA record for true shooting percentage with an unprecedented mark of .708, but with a clip of .724 so far this year is set to smash that record. 

As the only player since Artis Gilmore in the '80s to post percentages nearly this high, the efficiency we are seeing from Chandler is truly historical.

When you look at his overall impact on the team, Chandler's PER (Player Efficiency Rating) and Win Share numbers are also at an All-Star worthy level.

Chandler ranks in the league's top 12 in terms of PER, and sits third in Win Shares per 48 minutes (excluding those who have barely played).

Statistics aren't the only thing on Chandler's side, though. His head coach Mike Woodson is a firm believer that he will break his All-Star luck in February. Via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

He means all the right things for your team in trying to win. Without a doubt he’s an All-Star and a Defensive Player of the Year Award again. He’s right there. He’s doing everything he did last year and more.

With all the timely baskets and morale-boosting plays Chandler has made this season, it's clear to see why Woodson has such love for his man in the middle.

Of course, one important factor in Chandler's All-Star chances has been the league's move away from the center position on the voting ballot, favouring a frontcourt and backcourt system instead.

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In the first ballot returns, Chandler ranked fifth in Eastern conference frontcourt voting. Leaders LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are likely locks at this point, leaving Chandler in the midst of a three-way battle with Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh for the final spot. He is currently a good 60,000 votes behind both players, and is on the back foot as far as earning a starting role on the team.

Instead, Chandler will have to rely on the support of opposing coaches as well as his own, in an effort to make the team as a reserve if nothing else. Players who exert the type of effort and IQ that Chandler does are generally appreciated by coaches, so hopefully he'll have that on his side when the time comes.

Watching just a few minutes of Knicks basketball will tell you all you need to know about Chandler's All-Star credentials and his importance to his team.

Whether it's altering shots at the rim, setting great picks or putting in the extra effort on the glass, Chandler is always doing something to help his club.

It has been a long time coming after 11 years in the league, but 2013 should finally be the year that Chandler makes it to the big game.

Looking at the way he is playing, it will be a farce if he doesn't.

Stats used in this article were accurate as of Dec. 21, 2012. Advanced stats are from Basketball Reference.

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