Basketball Prospectus on Wilson Chandler: Don't call it a demotion!

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30: Wilson Chandler #21 of the New York Knicks lays the ball up against Dante Cunningham #33 of the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden on October 30 2010 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

This is just a quick PSA to point out that Wilson Chandler's recent positive output is by no means in spite of a change in his role with the Knicks. Despite being "demoted" to the bench, Wil's minutes per game so far (33.3) are down only slightly from '08-'09 (33.4) and '09-'10 (35.7), when he was a regular starter. You might argue that Chandler's playing time is just benefiting from the struggles of Danilo Gallinari, but then I'd tweak your nipple condescendingly and note that, during his court time, Wil's usage rate is at 27.8 in the first three games, where it was down around 20 each of the past two years. I'm not telling you anything you didn't know, but I guess my point is that Chandler's role has actually increased with his move to the bench. He's logging plenty of minutes and making plenty of basketball moves in those minutes. Take us home, Bradford Doolittle:

Chandler is 5-of-19 from behind the arc so far and is actually shooting a higher portion of threes than in the past, a combination which should be an efficiency sinkhole. Chandler isn't getting to the line more often and he's not shooting any better inside the arc. He's basically doing what he's done in the past, only doing it more often. Chandler has ramped his rebounding up considerably and is sharing the ball less. He's kind of doing what Al Harrington used to do off the bench for the Knicks. The result is a breakout season--so far--for the fourth-year swingman.

That might not sound lovely, but it's actually Doolittle's explanation of the fact that Wilson Chandler ranks second (albeit in a tiny sample size) in Basketball Prospectus's pro-rated Wins Produced metric. So far, Wil is getting a lot done from the bench, and posting pretty nice advanced stats (a PER of around 26, if that's more your bag) in the process. Yes, it's only been three games, and yes, he might run around heaving bricks and punting poop logs for the next 79 games, but so far, so good with regards to Chandler's benching temporal role adjustment. Now if only he'd stop shooting threes...

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