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Phoenix Suns Report Cards: Tyson Chandler is Aging Well

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Despite being 34 years old, Chandler had one of the better seasons of his career.

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Tyson Chandler is old.

In basketball years, that is.

Chandler vs. Father Time

At 34 years old, Chandler joins just 38 other active players who are at least that age.

Of the other 38, only Dwyane Wade (29.9) averaged more minutes per game than Tyson Chandler did (27.6) this past season. In fact, only 14 of the 39 players averaged at least 20 minutes per game this past season.

It’s just pretty unusual for players that age to carry that much of a workload.

While Chandler’s total numbers on the season were depressed by the team’s decision to sit him after the All-Star break as part of a “Strategic Resting Policy”, Tyson managed to rack up a few impressive feats in just 47 games.

In the 2016-17 season there were only 17 times a player 31 years or older grabbed 18 or more rebounds. Eight of those games were by Chandler, followed by Dwight Howard (6) and Joakim Noah, Marcin Gortat and Paul Millsap (one each).

While Chandler didn’t officially qualify for NBA leader boards (due to the resting policy), he would have ranked among the leaders in several categories.

Rebounds per game - 11.5 (8th)

Field goal % - .671 (2nd)

True shooting % - .703 (1st)

Offensive Rtg - 128.0 (5th)

Basically, even at the wizened age of 34, Chandler is still an elite rebounder and low volume/high efficiency scorer.

Chandler vs. The Suns Record Book

Let’s not just look at this through the lens of age, either. Tyson managed to have a record setting season for the Suns and make his mark in the team’s history. Starting January 3rd against the Miami Heat, Tyson recorded at least 15 rebounds in seven consecutive games, breaking the previous franchise record of six.

Chandler had 14 games (out of 47) with at least 15 rebounds and three with at least 20. Two of those 20 rebound games were back to back, including the first on Bright Side Night on December 11th against the New Orleans Pelicans. Chandler is the only player in franchise history with back to back 20+ rebounds games. He has accomplished the feat twice.

Chandler vs. Alex Len/Alan Williams

Tyson led Suns centers in rebounding and offensive efficiency categories. He did, however post the lowest block totals and had the worst defensive rating of the trio on what is one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

The numbers actually suggest that Alan Williams was pushing Chandler for the position of best center on the team last year.

Chandler vs. Chandler

Chandler recorded record or near record highs in several categories.

FG% .671 - second best in career

FT% - .734 - best in career

TS% - .703 - second best in career

REB/36 - 14.9 - best in career

However....

Tyson also recorded career worsts in BLK/36 (.7) and DRtg (109), while posting his second lowest usage % (11.3) ever.

Some of this regression on defense is obviously due to the shortcomings of his team.

The low usage rate also reveals the inability of the team to exploit his ridiculously high offensive efficiency.

While Chandler’s rebound numbers were phenomenal, his offensive impact was mitigated by his usage and his defense (which has always been a plus) turned into a negative this season.

Chandler vs. Team Chemistry

Suns fans have experienced the wrath of discontented players in recent years. This could have become a problem with a player in Chandler’s position. Not everyone would be happy to get set down for the last 30 games of the season so kids could get the opportunity to take their starting job permanently.

Tyson cheerfully accepted his role, never gave the impression of being moody or taciturn, didn’t demand a trade, and cheered on the younger players as they guided the team down the stretch.

Chandler’s Grade

Despite defensive regression I am mostly basing my grade for Chandler on his performance relative to age and his contribution to team morale through accepting whatever role the team gave him.

B+

Poll

What grade did Tyson Chandler earn for the 2016-17 season?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    A
    (110 votes)
  • 50%
    B or B+
    (147 votes)
  • 8%
    B- or C+
    (24 votes)
  • 3%
    C or C-
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    D or below
    (1 vote)
292 votes total Vote Now