Tyson Chandler vows to not 'let my team down' again
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Tyson Chandler may have taken more of a beating in the offseason than he did against Pacers center Roy Hibbert in the playoffs, but this one was self-inflicted.
Chandler did some soul-searching and blamed himself for the Knicks' loss to the Pacers. He used it as motivation to come back stronger and, he hopes, a more complete player. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year worked on his jump shot and jump hook and has promised not to let his team down again.
"My motivation this summer was the playoff exit," Chandler said after practice Friday. "I vowed to myself I would never let that happen again. I would never let my team down and be in that situation again. So that's what I've been thriving off of. I will never allow that to happen. I got my [butt] kicked. So next time I'm not going to let that happen."
Chandler, a first-time All-Star last season, had a neck injury and lost weight from having strep throat during the postseason, but he wasn't making excuses Friday. He put the Knicks' second-round loss in six games on his shoulders.
Hibbert averaged 13.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in the series. Chandler countered with 6.2 and 6.0, totaling only four points and 14 rebounds in the last two games.
"It's not about him, it's about me," Chandler said. "My job is to stop whoever is in front of me and outplay them no matter who it is. Walking away from that series, I couldn't look at this person, that person, what this person didn't do or what that person did. It's about me -- to make sure that person can't succeed against me and I have the success next time."
Chandler, a career 8.7-point scorer, is shooting more than 600 jump shots each practice. It's difficult for a player in his 13th season to suddenly develop an offensive game when for most of his career, his points have come from dunks on pick-and-rolls or putbacks. But Chandler said his jumper could be "deadly" and that he'll be able to take other centers off the dribble.
"Honestly, I don't see a big guy being able to come out and guard me around the free-throw line, because I feel like my first step is quicker than a lot of big guys in the league," he said. "If they've got to come out, it gives me a direct line to the basket as well as opening it up for my teammates. I'm an athlete. I've excelled defensively. There's no reason I can't excel offensively."
Coach Mike Woodson said he thinks Chandler has a good stroke and wants him to get comfortable shooting the jumper. It can't be harder than what Chandler put himself through in the offseason.
"At the end of the season, I didn't look at my teammates," Chandler said. "I looked at myself. I said, 'OK, where did you let your team down?' And I felt like that was one of the areas I let my team down. So I went back to the drawing board and worked on it."
Notes & quotes: Iman Shumpert (sore right shoulder) missed his second straight practice, but Woodson said he "probably" will return Saturday . . . Woodson pulled Chandler and Kenyon Martin out of Friday's scrimmage. The Knicks said they aren't hurt. Woodson said he's trying to preserve them for the season.