There’s still no word on when Tyson Chandler will return to the New York Knicks. He’s dealing with a personal matter which hasn’t yet been revealed. Chandler missed the last two games, and when Amar’e Stoudemire also missed the last game with a nagging knee injury, the Knicks turned to Cole Aldrich. Aldrich was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He’s averaging 5.2 mpg this season and 7.2 mpg for his career. Aldrich finally got a start on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, and he was surprisingly impressive.
In Aldrich’s first career start, he was able to put together his first career double-double. Aldrich scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. He snatched 10 rebounds and also added three blocks. This may be a sign of things to come as Aldrich used his 6-foot-11, 245-pound body to his advantage and dominated the boards in Boston. Aldrich looked as though he’s been working hard on his overall game. He looks the most complete as a player as he’s ever looked.
Obviously Cole Aldrich isn’t Tyson Chandler. I’m not, by any means, recommending that the Knicks start Aldrich over Chandler. At the moment, Aldrich is a more-than-capable backup center. For as long as Chandler is out, Aldrich can carry the weight in the paint. But what if the Knicks can trade that expiring contract of Chandler’s? With another good performance, maybe Aldrich makes the Knicks confident in trading Chandler for a more valuable piece.
It’s doubtful that the Knicks can move Chandler before his contract is up. Aldrich looked good enough to warrant himself more playing time, but the Knicks aren’t going to automatically crown him the center of the future after one good game. Aldrich deserves another look, and the only way to measure his potential is to give him more playing time. If Chandler is still away from the team Saturday afternoon against the Milwaukee Bucks, Aldrich will surely get another start. But even when Chandler is back, Aldrich should be on the court for a lot more than the 5.2 mpg he’s had this season.