Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Mavericks [Print without images]

Sunday, December 5, 2010
Dirk: Tyson Chandler is Mavs' MVP so far

By Marc Stein

The Mavericks have played 20 games, which almost precisely computes to one-fourth of the schedule.

Which means that the window is open to talk MVPs for the first quarter of the season.

The obvious choice, as always, is Dirk Nowitzki, who at 32 is shooting the ball better than he ever has (55.3 percent from the field) and averaging his usual 25-and-8.

Nowitzki’s choice, though, is Tyson Chandler.

“For sure,” Dirk says. “He’s been The Man.”

Such has been Chandler’s impact, especially at the defensive end and most recently displayed in Saturday night’s fourth-quarter comeback at Sacramento, that guys like Nowitzki and Mavs owner Mark Cuban can’t stop talking up the 7-footer. Chandler might only be averaging a modest 8.9 points and 9.3 rebounds in 26.6 minutes, but the level of energy and emotion he has infused this team with have become huge triggers for a team that’s started 16-4.

So why argue with Dirk? Everyone knows he’ll be the team’s MVP by season’s end anyway. No harm letting Chandler have some first-quarter glory given how well he’s played so far.

For more on Chandler and the leadership role he’s taken in Dallas after a successful stint last summer with Team USA, click to the latest Weekend Dime.