It takes a certain mentality to be a good screener. Tyson Chandler seems to legitimately enjoy the sensation of leveling opposing defenders. Rajon Rondo — who has probably dealt with a couple of those screens — enjoyed watching someone else have to deal with that.
Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group asked about those picks and Rondo gave an incredible answer.
Rajon Rondo says Tyson Chandler is already “by far” the best screen-setter on the team. He laughed while watching film as guards cringed as they prepared to fight through a Chandler screen.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) November 9, 2018
Rondo joked that Chandler set about 14 screens and “maybe 12 were illegal.”
To build on Rondo’s point, though, the Lakers desperately needed someone with this kind of physical, gritty attitude. The Lakers have a ton of talent on the roster. Guys like LeBron James, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are so physically gifted and skilled that they’ve never really had to approach the game the same way Chandler does now — and if you look down the roster from there, it isn’t like it’s filled with guys who might.
Another thing to note here is Rondo’s mentioning that Chandler gets away with illegal screens. A couple points here:
(referees, please don’t read this)
First, the whistle favors the aggressor. Basically, if all the screens you set are illegal, that makes it harder for officials to notice any one screen in particular. Once a referee lets one go, in their mind, the precedent has been set and they’ll probably eventually let a couple go over the course of that game.
Secondly, Chandler has developed a reputation over the course of his career — now nearing on two decades somehow. If a younger player went out and tried to set some of the screens he does, they’d foul out in comical fashion. But seeing as Chandler has been around and set as many screens as he has, officials are going to abide the precedent mentioned in the graf above.
Chandler has already helped the Lakers win one game since his arrival. He’s going to make a huge impact moving forward. The screens Rondo mentioned is just one of the various ways he’ll do that.