In 2018, you would think that people know how to mute their phones on a conference call.
But noooooooo, we can’t have that, and some bozo on Tuesday’s Wilson Chandler phone call let someone yap in the background during the entirety of the availability.
Most of the audio, however, did come through well enough, and though Chandler didn’t have anything groundbreaking to say about joining the Sixers, a few things did stand out, specifically this answer to a question from the Philadelphia Tribune’s Donald Hunt, who asked Chandler what he thought of the Sixers’ franchise while playing the last seven seasons in Denver.
“First of all, I think the organization deserves more credit,” Chandler said. “They had a couple years where a lot of people were giving them shit about ‘what are they doing?’ and all that stuff, but they’ve done a great job putting a good team together. They have two young stars. I think Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are future stars. In my eyes, they’re really good right now but they’re future stars and I see big things for both of them and big things in general. They did a good job putting a lot of good, young talent together and (inaudible because idiots were talking over the call).”
Chandler is an 11-year NBA veteran, a 6’8″ small forward who I would think plays the three spot on the team’s second unit, though he has the flexibility to switch 2-4 defensively.
Assuming the starting five of Simmons, Embiid, Covington, Dario Saric, and JJ Redick remains intact, you’d be looking at a second team that could feature Amir Johnson, Nemanja Bjelica, Chandler, first-round draft pick Zhaire Smith, and Markelle Fultz, if Brett Brown decides to run him as a point guard to begin the season.
But there are multiple looks for Brown to deploy next season, and Chandler should provide a lot of two-way utility and flex.
“From what I saw last year, I think I fit in multiple ways,” he said. “I don’t think I have one skill set that that benefits the team, I think it’s playing off of other people. I can play with Ben, play with Covington, or alongside them and with Joel. I think I can do a good job of complementing other players.”
Chandler did start 71 of the 74 games he played on a 46-win Nuggets team last season, operating as a small forward alongside Paul Millsap (PF) and Will Barton or Gary Harris (SGs) when the team was mostly healthy towards the end of the season. He’s been a regular starter throughout his career but did log 30+ bench appearances in the 2012-2013 and 2016-2017 seasons, seeing some time at power forward with Danilo Gallinari logging significant minutes at the three. Whatever the situation, Chandler hasn’t played fewer than 25 minutes per game since his rookie season back in 2007, and finished with 31.7 MPG this past year.
“We didn’t get into specifics about that. Me personally, I’m not worried about coming off the bench or starting,” Chandler explained. “I’ve done both in my career. I’ve come off the bench more than I started. I’m not opposed to that at all. I just want to win. I’m just glad to be back on a playoff team. I’m looking forward to pushing them as far as I can.”
Chandler has only played twice in the playoffs, both first-round exits with Denver that took place more than five seasons ago. But he seemed to understand the embrace the challenge provided by the Boston Celtics, specifically the perimeter struggles they presented to the Sixers in the postseason.
“I love to play both ends of the floor,” was the response to Tom Moore’s question about Brad Stevens’ club.
The consensus seems to be that Chandler is an upgrade in that department, a wing that can shoot a bit but also defend better than someone like Marco Belinelli, a pure scorer who had issues with the Celtics athletic back court in the conference quarterfinals. The Sixers will also be hoping that Zhaire Smith can do the requisite defensive job as another athletic, two-way wing.
“In my opinion, I think this team is built to make a run at the title, go to The Finals,” Chandler said. “My expectations, I think, are (the same as) everybody’s should be.”
His career stats, courtesy of Basketball Reference: