In the event that Tyson Chandler is traded by the New York Knicks ahead of the Feb. 20 trade deadline, the Knicks would likely turn to 22-year-old neophyte Jeremy Tyler to fill the void. In just 14 games this season Tyler has looked great, but is he ready to jump ball for the Bockers day in, day out?
Among the big men backing up Chandler this season, Tyler is the only one who has all the qualities of a starting NBA center: he can play 30-35 minutes per game (this eliminates Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire), he can play average to above-average defense (this eliminates Andrea Bargnani) and he has developing offensive skills that look better with each game he plays (this eliminates Cole Aldrich). However, Tyler has only 768 career minutes under his belt and has never played more than 42 games in a season. So it’d be interesting to see, to say the least, how he would handle a full workload.
Allowing a young player like Tyler to endure the growing pains of playing in the NBA isn’t typically the Knicks’ style, but they may have to let the kid play if the right deal comes along for Chandler. Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, Tyler may actually be ready for the spotlight. Three times this season coach Mike Woodson has given the 6-foot-10 California native 20-plus minutes per game, and each time he has put up impressive numbers: 11 points, 1.67 blocks, 5.3 rebounds and one steal on 15-of-23 shooting in 22.3 minutes per game.
While those three games each were in 25-plus point Knick blowout victories, they’re hopeful thoughts for a desperate Knicks fanbase. Will Tyler be ready if they call his number?