Tyson Chandler reacts in the second quarter against the Los...

Tyson Chandler reacts in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers. (Feb. 10, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

DALLAS -- Tyson Chandler received his championship ring Tuesday night for playing on the best team in the league last year. His coach thinks Chandler might be the best player at his position in the league right now.

"I think he's a great center," Mike D'Antoni said. "I know he's our guy -- I think he's as good as any center in the league. What he brings to the table, whether somebody gives you more here, somebody gives you more there -- his overall play and his intangibles in the locker room, there's nobody better in the game . . . I just don't know how you get better than him as a center."

The Magic might dispute this since they have Dwight Howard, for the time being at least. But Chandler is one of the top big men and was a major reason the Mavericks won the championship. His defense and leadership were missing pieces to Dallas' title puzzle.

The Mavericks didn't offer Chandler a multiyear deal during free agency because they wanted to save cap space to pursue Howard and Deron Williams this summer. The Knicks jumped at the chance to get Chandler, giving him a four-year, $56-million deal.

"He's been a godsend," D'Antoni said. "New York got really lucky to have somebody in their franchise, that classy that good and that young. It should last a long time."

Wrist MRI shows little

Nothing official has been given about Chandler's left wrist since he had an MRI last week. He said it's "sprains and stuff." D'Antoni was asked what the MRI showed.

"I don't know if it was anything specific other than some stress reactions on the bone, sore. Nothing that won't heal, but something that's just going to be sore for about a month," D'Antoni said. "Those are historically -- I don't want to get ahead -- but tough to heal real quick because of the blood flow. He's going to have to fight through it."

Barkley sees progress

TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who has been a harsh critic of the Knicks, conceded Tuesday that they have improved over the past month -- to a point.

"They're not a great team; they're solid," he said during an event in Manhattan to promote CBS' and Turner's coverage of the NCAA Tournament. "They're playing much better. I think the Lin story is incredible. He seems like a great kid. It's a great story. It's great for the league.

"Are they going to beat Miami or Chicago? Hell, no."

With Neil Best


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