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Friday, January 28, 2011
Mavs campaigning for Tyson Chandler

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS -- The Mavericks’ video campaigning for Tyson Chandler to be an All-Star won’t win any awards for creativity.

It isn’t nearly as clever as Kevin Love’s commercial for the cologne NUMB#RS, which is well on its way to becoming a YouTube sensation. The Timberwolves included that video along with a bottle of cologne, an print advertisement featuring Love and a model with his accomplishments listed on the back and a bottle of face lotion to Western Conference coaches. A Web site – 612allstar.com – was also created to promote Love.

The Mavs took a much more low-key route with their Chandler campaign. They made a simple video of Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler making a case for the center and sent it to the voting committee.

“Get his ass in,” Dirk said, summing up the gist of the video.
 
“His play is compelling enough to me,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I know he’ll get consideration. It’s a tough year for everybody because there are so many guys that are good players, but with Yao [Ming] being out, there’s a possibility that he could end up on the All-Star team. There are very few guys who have gone to new teams this year and have had the impact that he’s had on our team this year.”

Chandler’s chances depend on whether the West coaches (or commissioner David Stern) want at least one true center on the West roster.  Stern has a say because he is responsible for choosing the replacement starter for injured Yao.

The Mavs firmly believe that if a big man makes the West roster, it should be Chandler, who wasn’t even included on the All-Star ballot.

“Name a center in the west better than him? Don’t worry I’ll wait,” Jason Terry tweeted Friday morning (and Shawn Marion retweeted later in the day).

New Orleans’ Emeka Okafor (11.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.77 blocks) and Denver’s Nene (15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds) are other center candidates worth considering. The Lakers’ Andrew Bynum has been limited to 22 games due to injuries, so it seems he would be a stretch.

It’s possible, however, that the commissioner could choose to plug a forward/center such as San Antonio’s "Tim Duncan or the Lakers’ Pau Gasol into the starting lineup. That could be considered the logical way to go with the glut of great forwards in the West.

The Mavs hope coaches look beyond Chandler’s solid but unspectacular numbers (9.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks) and focus on the impact he’s made in his first season in Dallas. The 30-15 Mavs, who are in third place in the West, have considered Chandler their emotional leader and defensive backbone almost since the moment he arrived in Dallas.

“If you talk about guys who have had an impact on the team and basically changed the culture, that’s Tyson Chandler,” owner Mark Cuban said. “He’s probably done that better than anybody in the league this year.”

Chandler’s first All-Star appearance would be especially meaningful with the game in Los Angeles this season. He wouldn’t mind having to hustle up dozens of tickets for friends and family, although he didn’t want to estimate how many tickets he’d have to find.

“I don’t even want to think that far ahead,” Chandler said. “I just want a spot on the team.”

The Mavs are trying to help make that happen.