As the preseason winds down and the season gets underway, we’re reviewing the past and predicting the future for everyone on the Sixers’ 2018-2019 roster. Today – both of our “Bens” here at Philly Front Office take a look at new acquisition Wilson Chandler (be sure to check out Ben Seltzer’s Chandler profile as well).
Wilson Chandler got a bad rap last season. His scoreless game came at a bad time, as he went 0-3 from the floor in 48 minutes against the Timberwolves in a win-or-die game in game 82 for the Nuggets. The Denver fans turned on him somewhat, and it seemed mutually beneficial for the Nuggets and Sixers to make the deal they did, offloading Chandler and a future second for cash considerations.
That being said, Chandler had a solid year last year. Most importantly, he played 74 games (started 71), which has not been a given for Chandler over his seven years with Denver. He’s had 5 seasons out of his 11 where he played less than 41 games, including a completely inactive 2015-16 season. His ability to stay relatively healthy last year bodes well for Philadelphia. He averaged 10.0/5.4/2.6, with a combined 1.3 stocks (steals/blocks) per game. He was often tasked with guarding elite wing players and has made it clear that he’s expecting himself to add some physicality on the wing that the team was lacking. Overall, he had a relatively consistent year in Denver that ended on a sour note.
Notable Offseason Points
Well, he joined the Sixers, for one. Chandler took a few shots at Malone on Instagram and claimed to have reworked his jumper, but nothing particularly salient seemed to come for Wilson this summer. The preseason, however, resulted in Chandler straining his hamstring halfway through the first game. As Philly Front Office reported, he’ll be re-evaluated in a few weeks (sound familiar?) and Muscala, Shamet, and Korkmaz may see upticks in minutes. Hopefully, he’ll recover quickly and be back as the second or third guy off the bench soon enough.
Strengths and Areas of Improvement
Chandler’s physical strength is certainly one of his figurative strengths. Part of the struggles that Philadelphia had in the playoffs was their ability to guard Boston’s wing rotation, and Chandler will help with that problem. Unlike Belinelli, Chandler isn’t a guy who can be hunted on defense for easy buckets, allowing the rotation to go a bit deeper while maintaining the defensive scheme. (The same applies to Muscala in the Ilyasova role.) Chandler is an 11-year veteran, and that steadiness will help stabilize a frantic Sixers team.
Defensively, he’ll add an extra body behind Covington, while he’ll also be able to make the smart play on offense. He won’t fly around like a Belinelli or Redick, and can’t throw the flashy passes of Dario or Ben, but he usually makes the smart, simple play, and there’s a lot of value in that. He’s effective in the transition offense, is useful on cuts, and is a solid post-up scorer as well. He may do well to help Fultz and TJ McConnell in the bench lineups with his ability to get a bucket. Most importantly, Wilson Chandler is an underrated pick and roll defender, a role that was lacking on our team last year. Covington has the quick, active hands we all know and love, but the Sixers’ young players are all still developing the defensive experience to shut down pick and rolls. Chandler has that.
This leads us into Chandler’s areas of improvement – he’s not an exceptional shooter. He’s coming off his second best 3pt shooting year, at .358 percent (he shot an anomaly 41% in 2012-2013 during his 43 games), and claims to have reworked his jumper, but isn’t going to be able to shoot the high-difficulty catch and shoots that Belinelli and Redick bailed the Sixers out with last year. His health is obviously a weakness as well, but at 31, it’s hard to really improve resistance to injury. Chandler can be passive at times, and the guard corps will have to put effort into feeding Chandler buckets to keep him productive. Most importantly, he’s going to have to adapt to a new team for the first time in the better part of a decade, and losing the preseason to a strain is not going to help. Much of his success is going to rely on his ability to meld into the team after the season starts without him.
Expectations and Predictions
Chandler played 32 minutes per game last year. That number will decrease, as he’s going to be coming off the bench. Belinelli played 26 minutes per game in the backup wing role last year, but that also included guard minutes. Chandler won’t be playing guard minutes due to his playstyle and the increased guard rotation that will see Fultz, Landry Shamet, and Zhaire Smith added into the group (Zhaire will likely get some minutes at the wing as well). I’d expect Chandler at around 21 minutes per outing. If he can manage to average 11.5/4.5/1 this year with significant defensive contributions, while remaining healthy, I think Sixers fans will be very satisfied, and I believe those are achievable numbers.
Editor’s Note: Beginning September 27 and continuing up until the start of the season, we will be profiling each member of the current 76ers’ roster. Be sure to check out our schedule below and hear what our writers expect from our Sixers players.
|September 27||Jonah Bolden||October 8||Wilson Chandler|
|September 29||Shake Milton||October 10||JJ Redick|
|September 30||Zhaire Smith||October 11||Robert Covington|
|October 1||Furkan Korkmaz||October 13||Dario Saric|
|October 3||Amir Johnson||October 14||Markelle Fultz|
|October 4||Mike Muscala||October 15||Ben Simmons|
|October 6||Landry Shamet||October 16||Joel Embiid|
|October 7||TJ McConnell|