The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2018-19 NBA season without a legitimate starting center on their roster. Though they have JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac, and Moritz Wagner to play in the middle, none of those big men looked ready for the starting role. McGee spent most of his NBA career coming off the bench, while Zubac and Wagner obviously need more experience to be a reliable option for Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
JaVale McGee somewhat managed to establish himself as the Lakers starting center. He is currently averaging 14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks on 63.1 percent shooting from the field. However, so far, he’s only playing 26.1 minutes per game. When he’s not on the floor, opposing teams, especially those who have dominant big men, can easily bully the Lakers under the basket.
With their roster mostly consisting of new faces, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka expect the purple and gold to struggle earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, every night, both executives are carefully observing the areas they need to improve on their team. In just 10 games, they decided to address one of their main weaknesses by signing Tyson Chandler after he completed a buyout with the Phoenix Suns.
“Having observed our roster for the first 10 games of this young season, one of the areas that Earvin [‘Magic’ Johnson] and I discussed with Luke that we desired to upgrade is interior defense and rebounding,” said in a more-detailed-than-usual statement.
Tyson Chandler, an NBA champion and a former Defensive Player of the Year, is undeniably a good signing for the Lakers. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the acquisition of Chandler will not only give Coach Luke Walton job security, but he will also serve as the missing piece in the Lakers’ rotation.
“The addition of Chandler will pay immediate dividends. Walton will get his team to thrive with roster balance for a full 48 minutes. With Chandler alongside a talented and powerful player like James, it won’t take a lot for the Lakers to improve significantly. Chandler represents the missing ingredient as a defender and rebounder who will help the team climb up the standings.”
On Wednesday night, Tyson Chandler made his debut as a Laker when they faced the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center. His numbers may not be that impressive, but Chandler played a major role in helping the Lakers secure their fifth victory of the season. As Pincus noted, the Lakers didn’t sign Chandler for his offense, but to improve their interior defense and rebounding.