Earl K. Sneed reports from the Mavericks' Thursday practice in Boston, as center Tyson Chandler awaits word of if he'll make his first All-Star appearance.
BOSTON — While his team spent Thursday practicing and preparing for its upcoming bout with the Boston Celtics, Mavericks center Tyson Chandler had something else in the back of his mind.
By Thursday night, the 7-foot-1 big man will know if the coaches in the Western Conference have selected him to make his first All-Star appearance. And with teammate Dirk Nowitzki expected to be a lock to make his 10th appearance in the mid-season festivities, Chandler admits that he is on pins and needles while he awaits news of if he will or will not also be suiting up in front of his friends and family in his hometown of Los Angeles later this month.
“If I do make it, it will be a huge accomplishment in my career,” Chandler said. “And then for it to be in L.A., it would be that much more special, to be able to share it with my friends and my family and the people I grew up in front of. If I don’t make it, I felt the only thing I could do is put myself in this situation to be considered, and just to be considered is a great honor.
“But my goal is to always help my team win, whatever that may be — whether it’s scoring, rebounding, defending, doing the little things or whatever it takes. So, I wanted to do that this year and I felt like I accomplished that. And that’s all I can do.”
Chandler is coming off a 15-point, 11-rebound effort in the Mavericks’ 113-97 road win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. It was his 11th double-double to bring his season averages up to 10.2 points and 9.3 rebounds.
But both Chandler and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle say that the impact of the man in the middle of the Dallas lineup has far outweighed what his numbers would indicate. And it’s his impact that makes Chandler an All-Star in Carlisle’s eyes.
“I can’t think of a guy more deserving based on what he’s contributed to our team,” Carlisle explained. “He’s doing it statistically. He’s doing it with energy and enthusiasm, and he’s brought an indomitable spirit to our team … He’s one of four or five guys that were absolutely deserving to be All-Stars. But because it is such a potent year in the West, there’s only so many spots.”
“My goal coming here was to make an impact on the team and change the culture of the team. And although I feel like we’re not completely there, we’re headed in the right direction. So, I feel like we’ve done a good job so far,” Chandler added. “If it was me, if I’m every coach in the league, I’m gonna look at what a player does for his team. To me, that’s an All-Star. I’m not necessarily a numbers guy, because I think sometimes numbers can lie. I’m not saying that about any particular player this year, that’s definitely not what I’m talking about. But I like to watch a guy and watch what he does and see the impact that he has on his team.”
Carlisle wasn’t permitted to vote for Chandler due to regulations. Still, he says the talented high-school-to-pro standout is just as deserving as any other big man in the conference.
“We don’t see the tally, but you vote in order. You pick 1-7, and five of them have to be tagged with positions and the other two don’t,” Carlisle explained. ”The votes are weighed … And so, there’s obviously a point total, and I would be shocked if it wasn’t very, very close a lot of years, but this year in particular.”
With that said, Chandler hopes the West coaches paid close attention to his impact on the Mavericks when stacking him up against some of the other deserving big man in the conference with impressive numbers for losing teams.
“Don’t get me wrong, if you have an impact on a team, you’re gonna have numbers, they’re gonna show up,” Chandler explained. ”But I’m the type of guy that judges on wins and what you’re doing for your team. If your numbers are high and your team is winning, then that means you’re making an impact. If your numbers are high and your team is losing, to me, you’re not making the impact that you should.”
Chandler will find out his fate, as will Nowitzki, when the All-Star reserves are announced on TNT later Thursday evening at 6 p.m. CT.
Note: The Mavericks continue their road trip, touching down in Boston for Friday night’s matchup against the Celtics. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN.
The team returns to Dallas to host the Cleveland Cavaliers next Monday night, Feb. 7, at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks went into Quicken Loans Arena and handed the Cavs a 104-95 loss on their home floor back on Jan. 2. That matchup will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting the American Airlines Center box office, logging on to Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287).
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