In his brief time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Tyson Chandler has become a fan favorite because of his defensive effort on the court. However, he’s also lived up to his reputation of being a great veteran in the locker room for young players like rookie Moe Wagner.
Wagner was three years old when Chandler made his NBA debut for the Chicago Bulls in 2001, but he told Silver Screen and Roll that he’s old enough to remember when Chandler teamed up with Dirk Nowitzki on the Dallas Mavericks for the first time in 2011.
“I was a huge Dallas Mavericks fan, as you can imagine as a German guy, so I actually watched a lot of Tyson Chandler,” Wagner said. “I was actually pretty excited for him to be on our team just because it’s like our first real veteran. I know LeBron is a veteran too with 16 years, but Tyson Chandler has been in the league because he’s just been so solid with everything and he kind of finds his own niche.
“Obviously at the big position he can be an incredible mentor for me so I’m very excited to be alongside someone like that and to be able to learn from him.”
Chandler isn’t as high-profile of a star as James, which might be why Wagner feels like he is the Lakers’ “first real veteran.” Yes, James has been the league 16 years, but he’s been a superstar for all 16. More players can relate to Chandler’s journey than James’.
Being a lumbering 7-foot-1, 240 lb. center, Chandler might not be the perfect veteran for Wagner, who fits the mold of a more modern, floor-spacing big man, but he can help Wagner in the areas he still needs to work on, such as post defense and rebounding.
It’s unlikely the two will ever share the floor outside of practice, but it’s clear Wagner is happy to have Chandler around, and if he picks the veteran’s brain, it could be big for his NBA future.
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