Does Tyson Chandler Give The Dallas Mavericks a Championship Front Line?

Keith L.Correspondent IJuly 13, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 26: Tyson Chandler #6 of the Charlotte Bobcats looks to pass the ball after grabbing a rebound against the Orlando Magic at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Magic defeated the Bobcats 99-90 to complete the four game sweep.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)
Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

Just after the Utah Jazz snatched Al Jefferson away from Dallas, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson set their targets on Tyson Chandler after a botched trade to Toronto.

The important players Dallas lost were Erick Dampier, Cuban's most valuable trade piece, and Eddie Najera, two players who spent considerable time at center last year.

In comes Chandler, who just three years ago was a double double machine with the help of Chris Paul in New Orleans. However, Chandler has been extremely limited the past two years due to injuries.

Now the question is, does Chandler's presence give Dallas enough of a big man trio to seriously contend for a championship, or is he just here to fill space because he has a eight figure expiring contract for the pursuit of Paul?

My guess would be Dallas management believes Chandler can make a difference. But they won't hesitate to trade him if Chris Paul becomes available.

The difference that a healthy Chandler can make is enormous. Still on the right side of 30, he can be the player he was in New Orleans: an athletic monster, an opportunistic and hard-working rebounder, and a willing and competent defender.

Defense is especially important on the oldest team in the NBA featuring only one defender (Marion) that can defend against dribble penetration.

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Quick point guards like Paul, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, and Monta Ellis have no trouble driving against Dallas defenders because Dampier, Haywood, and Najera would pose little to no threat against a lay-up.

Three of those four point guards have had triple-doubles against Dallas.

Whether this elevates Dallas to championship contention can be debated.

One concern is Chandler's history of injury over the years.

The other is his lack offensive moves.

This means Dirk Nowitzki still has to put the offense on his 32 year old shoulders, with inconsistent help from Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, and Jason Terry.

The verdict is still out on whether Rodrigue Beaubois can make an impact big enough to become Dirk's sidekick on offense.

Chandler can at least be enough of an alley-oop threat to draw some attention away from Dirk. However, that still won't be enough to change the culture of the Dallas offense.

Offensive deficiencies can still be filled through the Mid-Level Exception, as represented by Dallas offering Al Harrington the full MLE to be a spark plug off the bench.

Because of his ability to fill a big need for this team, Tyson Chandler should be a welcomed addition to Dallas and impact them only in a positive way.

To answer the title question, Chandler does not give Dallas a championship front line, but his talents put them in the conversation.

However, if New Orleans comes calling about a Paul for Chandler trade, I would sacrifice this front court and pull the trigger in a heartbeat.