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Rockets restart player previews: Tyson Chandler

Small ball likely keeps the veteran center glued to the pine.

LA Clippers v Houston Rockets Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

Tyson Chandler

History: Chandler signed with the Rockets in the summer of 2019, and it was thought he would provide some veteran spot minutes behind normal starter Clint Capela and ahead of young big man prospect Isaiah Hartenstein. For a short while, that was the case, with Chandler playing in 26 total games before the shutdown. But as the Rockets have gone small, he’s quickly found himself as the only true center on the roster. That didn’t do anything but squash his minutes though, as he hasn’t seen any meaningful action since January 20, earning DNPs for his last 23 straight games, and he averages just 8.4 minutes per game on the season.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Outlook: Chandler has no real path to playing time. With the recent release of Hartenstein, the Rockets have gone all in on small ball, starting 6’5” forward P.J. Tucker at center, who’s sure to be playing as many minutes as possible for Mike D’Antoni. Backup forward Jeff Green is a top candidate for center minutes off the bench, and despite the litany of top big men waiting the Rockets in the Western Conference playoffs, Houston is going to choose to make them chase forwards out to the three-point line rather than let Chandler try to bang down low against the likes of Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, or Nikola Jokic. There’s a chance he could see some time in an emergency, such as an injury, but Chandler’s job will mostly be to provide a veteran locker room presence and make sure he’s cheering for the Pocket Rockets from the end of the bench.