Tyson Chandler Ranked 23rd Best Player in NBA by ESPN -- Too High, Right?
New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler (L) blocks the ball away from Miami Heat's Chris Bosh in the first half during their NBA basketball game in New York, April 15, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS)
ESPN's summer long project, the NBA Rank, is now in its home stretch, and today, the sports media giant revealed the "25 through 21" portion of its list. Surely, arguments could be made for the location of every ranking, but let's take single out New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler's number 23 spot. Just because.
Could the famous great New York media hype be in play again? New York City is, afterall, the mecca of basketball and the media capital of the world. It's natural that everything here becomes a bit overhyped (we bet anything Carmelo Anthony will be ranked a few spots too high on this ESPN list too). For example, many basketball fans agreed that, had Jeremy Lin broke out with, say, the Sacramento Kings, "Linsanity" wouldn't have been nearly as big. Or that, had Reggie Miller's heroics happened against the Milwaukee Bucks, it wouldn't have been as big a deal. There's just something about New York City. Bright lights, big city.
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Listen, it's not that we don't like Tyson Chandler. We know he's one of the best defenders in the league. Heck, he was probably the second most important Maverick during the team's 2011 title run (Dirk's probably still shaking his head at Mark Cuban's decision to let him walk), But 23 is still too high considering Chandler's lack of offensive ability.
Consider this: Manu Ginobili, who is one of the greatest winners in all of basketball (have to factor in his European titles and Olympic gold medal along with the three NBA titles) and someone who always steps up in big games, is only ranked 25. James Harden, who, despite being overshadowed by his more lauded teammates, is probably the best passer and smartest offensive player on the Oklahoma City Thunder, is ranked 26.
Then there's Tim Duncan, the greatest power forward of all time, at 27. Yes he's aged and his game has declined. But he still averaged 17 and 10, with 2 blocks while anchoring his team's defense in the playoffs last season.
Chandler, by the way, averaged 6 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in the playoffs.
The Knicks center is also ranked above Andre Iguodala, who is every bit as good a defender on the perimeter as Chandler is in the paint, only Iguodala is also his team's best player. That team, the 76ers, went further in the playoffs than Chandler's team too.
Looking on the other end, Kyrie Irving, whom everyone agrees is the next big superstar, is ranked only one spot above Chandler. Kevin Garnett, who is probably every bit as good a defender as Chandler is while being literally twice the offensive player, is only ranked two spots above Chandler.
Tyson Chandler is a wonderful player, but his one-sided skillset means he is, at the very best, a secondary player. He can never truly be a team's go-to player. So how can he be the 23rd best player in the NBA?
That's them New York City hype for ya.