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 Dunst’s Chandler profile as well).
One major issue for the 76ers in last season’s playoff series loss against the Boston Celtics was their lack of physicality. During an offseason that many considered to be a disappointment for the 76ers, the front office made a solid move to address this issue, adding Wilson Chandler (and a second round pick) and only giving up cash considerations in return.
Chandler, a 6’9” wing who has spent time with the Knicks and Nuggets, has earned a strong reputation as a team player over his 10 seasons in the NBA. His addition to the Sixers’ roster, despite not being the splashy signing that most hoped for, will prove to be one of the more important for this team’s rise to the top.
2017-18 Season Review
Last season for the Denver Nuggets, Chandler averaged 10.0 PPG on 44.5% shooting (35.8% from 3), 5.4 REB, and 2.1 AST (per Basketball Reference). Like most of his years in the league, though, Chandler’s impact is hard to measure on the stat sheet.
The Nuggets, much like the Sixers, were an up and coming team last year, and Chandler’s veteran presence helped them greatly. He was a constant physical presence, guarding 2-4 on a team with very few willing defenders. In his best game, Chandler dropped 18 and 16 in a win against San Antonio.
Chandler is a player who has the athleticism and skill to score at all three levels, and defend on the other end, but chooses his spots, not taking opportunities away from other more skilled offensive teammates. In the month of March, Chandler was playing his best basketball, shooting a scorching 45.3% from three on 3.8 attempts per game.
Chandler’s ability to make his usual impact by simply doing his job on both ends of the floor, paired with his potential to explode as a scorer for stretches fits perfectly with this talented Sixers roster.
2018 Offseason Notes
The Sixers were excited to add Chandler’s skill set, clearly seen in a shout out from Joel Embiid on The Jump during Media Day. “I think he’s gonna be great for the playoffs,” Embiid said on Chandler. “He’s able to switch one through four, maybe five.”
The team was very confident in Chandler’s ability to help their progress towards a championship, so obviously they were disheartened when Chandler went down with a hamstring injury in the first half of the Sixers first preseason game against Melbourne United.
While Chandler’s injury should not keep him out for much of the regular season (his injury was scheduled for re-evaluation in 2-3 weeks, just around the start of the season), he was not able to develop any real chemistry with the Sixers’ young core, something that this preseason could have helped with greatly. Chandler will be just fine, but it would have been nice to see him gel a bit with the rest of the team.
Chandler’s main attribute is his workman-like attitude, coming into every game and giving a strong effort. This is something that a young team like the Sixers can never have enough of, shown by J.J. Redick’s impact on the team last season. Chandler never takes a play off, and his willing defense will be a major upgrade over the likes of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova.
Chandler knows his role on a team. Despite starting 71 games for the Nuggets, Chandler understands that he’ll be a role player in Philadelphia. In his media day availability, Chandler had this to say, “I’m just here to help, play off Ben, play off Joel. Obviously this is those guys’ team, so offense is limited.”
Chandler is not a J.R. Smith or a Monta Ellis type; there is absolutely no selfishness to his game, which is precisely what this team needs to thrive. He is seasoned enough to know when he should take a shot, and when to fade into the background on offense, setting picks and playing hard defense, doing all the little things that help a team improve.
Areas for Improvement
Transition to the Bench
Chandler has only averaged less than 30 minutes per game in three out of his 10 NBA seasons. This season, he’ll likely sit more in the 12-18 minute range, depending on the development of players like Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet, and Furkan Korkmaz. This is the best team that Chandler has every played on, and his role will likely be the smallest.
Due to his attitude, there is not much to worry about here in terms of hard work, but it will be a transition from being a high minute contributor to someone who will have to provide energy off the bench. Some players (see: Dario Saric’s starting vs. reserve statistics) do not play as well off the bench, as their rhythm is affected by the long pauses in action. Hopefully, Chandler will not see this sort of dip in production, but his transition to the bench will be something to watch.
Predictions for the 2018-19 Season
This season, Chandler will be an important role player, the full story of his impact will not be told on the stat sheet. That said, Chandler should average around 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 37% shooting from three. The Sixers spacing will allow for more wide-open three pointer opportunities for Chandler, shots he made at a stellar 43.5% last season (per NBA.com). Chandler is poised to make an impact on the best team he’s played with to this point in his career. By the season’s end, he’ll prove to be an underrated addition to a promising Sixers squad.
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|