Tyson Chandler made his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and he made an impact almost immediately with his effort on the glass. Following the win, Chandler was quick to credit his impressive debut to his teammates, particularly Rajon Rondo.
While head coach Luke Walton’s decision to keep Rondo in the game over Lonzo Ball was puzzling to many fans, Chandler said that having Rondo on the floor helped him stay involved.
“Rondo was a huge help, he was telling me where to be at all times, making eye contact with me,” Chandler said. “I’ve seen a lot of the sets to kind of pick up on them. I knew the basics, but clearly, I didn’t know second and third options.”
Walton also praised Rondo for “just being a point guard” against the Timberwolves and said that he appreciated the “constant communication” between Rondo and Chandler.
“He was good,” Walton said. “Obviously, the possession with those tap outs late in the game really helped seal the deal. He’s a winning player, he’s a champion for a lot of years in this league and he gave us a taste of what he could do as far as when he was out there. (Rajon) Rondo was doing a nice job of getting him where he needed to be on certain plays and with his fatigue level, he was very honest when he needed a sub. So, there was just constant communication going with that.”
But Rondo thinks Chandler enjoyed immediate success with the Lakers because of his 18 years of experience in the NBA.
“The game is simple, and he’s been around the league a while… It’s basketball talk and he’s really very familiar with it,” Rondo said. “He’s a great communicator on the floor and he knew what I was talking about on both ends.
“I’m glad he’s (Chandler) a Laker now.”
Rondo isn’t the only one happy to see Chandler in the purple and gold. Kyle Kuzma, who scored 21 points on Wednesday, said that Chandler adds another champion to the locker room.
“It was huge. He’s a champion for a reason,” Kuzma said. “18 years in the league and those tip-outs were super huge for us. We were up one at that point, and for him to get about three of them, that was big time. That’s championship habits.”
With the addition of Chandler, the Lakers have four NBA champions in the locker room, including JaVale McGee, Rondo and LeBron James.
Chandler might not be the All-Star, defensive stalwart he used to be, but he still fills a huge need for the Lakers at center. On Wednesday, the 36-year-old showed the type of impact he can have on both ends of the floor.
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