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Magic Johnson ‘loves’ Tyson Chandler, who he says sets ‘some of the best picks in basketball’

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Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson likes what he’s seen from Tyson Chandler so far.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers brought on Tyson Chandler just eight games into the regular season because team president Magic Johnson was unhappy with the way the team was defending the paint. Now six games into his Lakers career, Chandler has impressed his boss.

During an in-game interview with Mike Trudell on Spectrum SportsNet, Johnson said that he could not be happier with his midseason signing:

“I love [Chandler]. Love him. Again, we brought in another champion and somebody to anchor our defense when JaVale is on the bench. He sets probably some of the best picks in basketball, and then when you think about Tyson, his basketball IQ is just like LeBron, just like Rondo. He’s very intelligent.

“And then he’s coming back home, he’s really happy that he’s playing at home for the Lakers, and we’re definitely happy to have him. It takes a lot of pressure off of Kyle Kuzma, now moves him back to his natural position, which is power forward.”

Chandler is second on the Lakers in screen assists (3.2) only trailing JaVale McGee (3.3). In Chandler and McGee, the Lakers have two of the top-20 leaders in screen assists this season.

Chandler’s screen setting was on full display on Sunday when the Lakers visited the Miami Heat, and he was a big reason LeBron James was able to score as easily as he did on his way to 51 points, as highlighted by Lakers digital reporter Joey Ramirez.

As Darius Sorano of Forum Blue and Gold pointed out on Monday, the two-man pairing of Chandler and James has been very successful in their short time together:

The Lakers are 5-1 since signing Chandler, and have held the league’s ninth-best defensive rating (105.2) since then. Prior to his arrival, the Lakers were ranked No. 21 in the league in defensive rating (112.4).

Perhaps Chandler doesn’t deserve all of the credit for the Lakers’ improvement on both ends of the floor, but he’s been a big reason for it. All the praise that has come his way over the past few weeks is well-deserved, including these most recent comments made by Magic.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.