NEW YORK CITY — Tyson Chandler has worn a few jerseys since coming to the NBA. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers, traded to the Chicago Bulls, traded to the New Orleans Hornets, then to the Charlotte Bobcats and now he is with the Dallas Mavericks.
But there is one jersey he is proud to wear and that is the red, white and blue of Team USA.
Chandler has represented the United States before in international competition. In 2007 he was a member of USA’s FIBA’s Americas Championship games where that team finished with a 10-0 record.
Now as Team USA is prepping for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey, Chandler has his mind set on winning gold but knows the team has a few things to accomplish first.
Case in point, finding the right big men for the team.
With the international game being a bit more physical, big men will be a premium for Team USA. Chandler is battling against other NBA big men like Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, Washington Wizards’ JaVale McGee and Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom. Though competition for the center spot is intense, he keeps in mind what the goal is for the team.
“It’s been great but it’s a situation where we all have the same goal. Granted we are being competitive out here, going at each other, but at the end of the day we all want to win the gold. We help each other out, we give each other pointers as long as we each get better, we get better as a unit,” said Chandler to Project Spurs.
Getting gold is the goal but in order to get the gold, there are adjustments still needed for Team USA. Chandler is fully aware of this and the adjustments he needs to make as a center, “The three-second rule doesn’t exist in FIBA games. That’s probably the biggest thing because it allows the defense to setup and protect the paint. There’s less spacing and it forces you to do things offensively differently then we do in NBA games. But it allows us to do things defensively we can’t do in the NBA.”
It goes without saying learning FIBA basketball rules will be some getting used to for NBA players but Chandler does like how the team is adjusting and as he says, is starting to find an identity, “We are starting to understand our strengths and what he have to play to. In Las Vegas everyone was trying to find their place but now its more about finding our identity and that’s what we are trying to accomplish while we are here in New York.”
Speaking of identity, he is now a member of the Mavericks and had a few things to say about joining Dallas, “I bring in some youth, speed, athleticism, some fire”, said Chandler to Project Spurs, “I think it’s going to be great with the team we have. Big men that can get up and down the floor and finish.”
Of course he is also joining the Spurs-Mavericks rivalry and is looking forward to being a part of it now, “I love it. I love that type of stuff. Gets me fired up. I was down in the West (Western Conference) a couple of years ago and I love the competition every single night. I’m looking forward to it.”
Competitive, making adjustments, and doing what it takes to capture gold in Turkey. Chandler brings exactly what Team USA needs heading into Turkey. With his help, Team USA should be able to win gold in Turkey at the World Championship. Something the USA has not done since 1994.