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2008-09 Season in Review: Tyson Chandler
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

June 8, 2009

Hornets.com continues its look back at the 2008-09 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:


TYSON CHANDLER
Age: 26
NBA experience: Eight seasons [ Hornets (3), Bulls (5) ]
Games played (starts): 45 (45)
Key statistical averages: 8.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks

What we expected: Chandler never lived up to expectations over five seasons in Chicago, after being selected as the second overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft. However, during his first two seasons as a Hornet, he vastly exceeded what just about anyone thought he would do. Chandler blossomed into an excellent starter and close to an All-Star-caliber center. The 7-foot-1 pivot averaged a double-double during the teams breakthrough 2007-08 season, at 11.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Entering last season, he was viewed as part of a young core group (along with All-Stars Chris Paul and David West) with the potential to make New Orleans a contending team for years to come.

What happened: It was an eventful season, to say the least. A severely sprained left ankle, along with a nixed midseason trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder, made for an extremely difficult season for Chandler, one that bore no resemblance to his previous two years with the Hornets. His statistics dipped across the board, partly due to an increase in foul trouble that led to reduced minutes (from 35.2 per game in 2007-08 to 32.1). Chandler missed 16 straight games in January and February because of his ankle ailment, then sat out 15 more contests prior to the 82nd game of the regular season. In between, he played some of his best basketball of the campaign, averaging 8.8 points and 10.3 rebounds over a 12-game span.

To Chandlers credit, the Feb. 17 trade to OKC did not seem to affect him on the court; in fact, he was at his best in the weeks after the deal was rescinded. Tyson and his family handled it very well, Hornets team president Hugh Weber said. It was a very difficult situation. (Hornets owner) George (Shinn) did sit down with Tyson and had a conversation with him. He said, OK, get your feelings out and lets move on. Unfortunately for Chandler, even though he was able to return for the regular season finale at San Antonio and the playoffs, his ankle injury just kept getting progressively worse. He was largely ineffective in the postseason against the Nuggets, averaging just 3.8 points and 5.3 rebounds. The injury caused him to miss the Hornets season-ending Game 5 loss in Denver.

Best game: Of the 15 double-doubles he registered this season, the most memorable was a 15-point, 10-rebound performance on Feb. 23 in Sacramento, a 112-105 win for New Orleans. That night marked Chandlers first game action following the trade to OKC, as well as his first outing in more than a month. He played 32 minutes and helped the Hornets launch a seven-game winning streak.

The future: Though there has been speculation that Chandlers injury will hamper him in upcoming seasons, Weber said he expects Chandler to be 100 percent by tip-off of the 2009-10 season. Tyson has never missed a game because of his toe, Weber said, referring to the specific injury that led OKC to rescind the February trade. His ankle injury (was) a tough injury to overcome (during the season). We expect him to be back to form and be the Tyson that he was before. Chandler has also been listed in several rumored trades this summer, but the Hornets dispute the notion that they will avoid the luxury tax by all means necessary. Is it possible to bring Tyson back and be competitive? Weber said. The answer is obviously yes. Is it possible to bring Tyson back and remain under the luxury tax? Yes, its possible. I think we can achieve our objectives with Tyson (on the roster).











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