Just how big it would be was something they did not.
With David Lee suspended for one game due to his altercation in Tuesday's game in Indiana, Chandler soared for a career-high 28 rebounds to earn the Knicks a huge four-point win over the Warriors, who behind Stephen Curry's 54 points, very nearly managed to steal the show.
Tyson Chandler finished tonight with 28 rebounds. The New Orleans Hornets finished with 25 ... as a team.2/28/2013, 3:57:15 AM
Chandler also picked up 16 points and two steals in the win, but it was his dominance of the boards that was the real highlight of the night for the big man.
And it proved again just how important Chandler is to this franchise.
New York is currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference standings and top of the Atlantic Division so far in 2013. They have a strong and versatile squad that is combining well this season, and as a result, they will likely head into the playoffs as a genuine contender in the East.
Yet without Chandler, this team would be nowhere near that.
The 2013 All-Star showed tonight that he can single-handedly outplay a team's offense by dominating the boards at both ends of the court.
His 10 offensive rebounds were at least double what every other Warriors player had on the defensive end, with only Curry and Festus Ezeli besting that mark. They both had six defensive rebounds, meaning that Chandler outrebounded every player at that end of the court.
The same thing happened at the other end of the court, where Chandler's 18 defensive rebounds paled in comparison to the five offensive boards that the entire Warriors squad had. Golden State simply had no answers to the star center, who was just too good for them to match.
Having said that, Chandler showed up not just the Warriors' team but his own also, with no other player able to be as effective in the paint as Chandler was. The rest of the Knicks' starters combined for four offensive and three defensive boards—numbers Chandler simply blew out of the water.
The Knicks simply would not have won this game without Chandler—much like they would not be as successful this season without him either.
Theoretically, the same argument could be made for Carmelo Anthony (35 points, eight assists) or Amar'e Stoudemire (14 points off the bench). You could even say the same thing for Raymond Felton, whose crucial block on a previously unstoppable Curry late in the same gave the Knicks a crucial two-point lead, which would eventually give them the win in this one.
Yet there has been no other player whose impact has been felt more in New York this year than Chandler. He simply has been the presence on the offensive glass the Knicks have desperately needed, and has also continued to showcase an ability to make big defensive plays.
Without him, the Knicks would not be third in the East.
They most certainly would not have beaten the Golden State Warriors this week and they probably wouldn't be in contention for the Eastern Conference title.
But as it stands, they are, and they'll be a big team to watch out for come playoff time. Especially if Tyson Chandler is still rocking the glass like usual.
Has Tyson Chandler been the New York Knicks' MVP this season?