Why the Knicks Need Tyson Chandler to Step Up in the Second Half

Ryan GauleCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2014

New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) and forward Carmelo Anthony (7) are pictured on the bench late in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. Oklahoma City won 112-100. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is preparing for the start of the second half of the season, which starts tomorrow as the Knicks take on the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden.  

All-Star Carmelo Anthony has been dominant this season, ranking second in the league with 27.3 points per game. Aside from him, however, the Knicks have received little to practically no production from other key players.

If the Knicks want to turn their season around and make the playoffs for the fourth straight year, Tyson Chandler is the player they need most to improve.  

Chandler is having a down year due to an injury early on that sidelined him for part of the first half of the season. He is averaging just 8.6 points and 6.0 defensive rebounds per game. Compare that to last season when he averaged 10.4 points per game and helped lead his team to the Eastern Conference semifinals.  

Tyson Chandler Comparative Stats Last Two Seasons
YearGamesPPGORB per gameDRB per game
Basketball Reference

Chandler’s field-goal percentage per game has also dropped from .638 to .615 this season, which has prevented the Knicks from getting much-needed points in the paint.  

Chandler was a beast down low last season for New York, which gave them a whole different dimension as a team. His ability to grab rebounds and turn them into points is what really made the Knicks a playoff-caliber team.  

With free agency looming for Carmelo Anthony and the second half of the season almost underway, the Knicks need a resurgence from Chandler to put together a streak of quality basketball games.  

If Chandler does not remain healthy and begin to collect more points on a nightly basis, the Knicks are in for a long ride until the season ends.  

On the other hand, if Chandler does get going, the Knicks have a legitimate shot at rewriting the season and making the playoffs. After all, even with a 20-28 record, the Knicks sit just 2.5 games behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.  

We will see what happens from here on out, but one thing is for sure when it comes to the fate of the New York Knicks: Tyson Chandler has to return to form in order for them to have a realistic shot at making noise in the Eastern Conference, both in the regular season and the playoffs as well.

*Statistics Courtesy of Basketball Reference.