UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – Jason Kidd will never say it, but it must have been infuriating to loft a beauty of a lob pass only to have Erick Dampier either fumble it out of bounds or fail to put it in the hole.
Brendan Haywood’s arrival was an upgrade in the hands department, but now Kidd thinks he has the perfect alley-oop partner in center Tyson Chandler.
The Dallas Mavericks remember Chandler as a healthy, 7-foot-1 pogo stick during their 2008 first-round playoff loss to the New Orleans Hornets when point guard Chris Paul consistently found Chandler up high for uncontested slam dunks.
Kidd, who had joined the Mavs just a few months prior to that playoff series, said Chandler is reminding him of that agile and active player through the first week of training camp.
“He can catch and he plays above the rim. It changes the game,” Kidd said. “It makes the game a lot easier because he’s so athletic offensively. And defensively too, he can rebound and block shots. With him healthy and the way that he looks right now, he looks like back in New Orleans when he was running the pick-and-roll with Chris Paul."
Chandler benefitted from his play with Team USA at the FIBA World Championships last month. He said his conditioning is excellent for this early in training camp and that he feels as healthy as he has over the last few years when he’s dealt with multiple foot and ankle injuries.
“I feel great. And when I feel great, I feel like there’s not many guys in this league that can play the way that I play,” Chandlers said. “So, it’s all about me feeling good out there and I feel good.”