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Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Tyson Chandler

For fantasy owners looking to make some early adjustments to their rosters, 2012 NBA Defensive Player of The Year Tyson Chandler of the Knicks could be a valuable addition. The 2001 second overall pick out of Dominguez High School in Los Angeles won his first NBA title in 2011 with the Mavericks.

Last season, a three-team trade landed the 11th-year veteran in Gotham City, where he joined Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Together these three formed one of the most potent frontcourts in the league.

Playing in 62 of the lockout-shortened schedule of 66 games, 7’1” Chandler averaged 11.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.4 bpg and almost 1 steal per contest. He posted game highs of 25 points, 17 boards (3X), 6 blocks and 4 steals.

Chandler’s partner in the paint, 6X NBA All-Star Stoudemire, missed 19 of the 66 contests due to injury. When Stoudemire was out of the New York lineup, Chandler’s numbers soared, especially on the boards.

On Wednesday, October 31st, Stoudemire had left knee surgery and won’t be available to coach Mike Woodson until the new year at the earliest. Even then, his effectiveness will be a question, and initially he’ll carry a limited workload.

The Knickerbockers will need Chandler to help pick up the slack left by Amar’e’s absence, so look for Chandler’s numbers to get a boost across the board.

Czar’s End of Year Awards

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Gameday Dish: Knicks vs. Grizzlies

Gasol-Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe New York Knicks come to The Bluff City to take on the Grizzlies tonight at The FedExForum. The guys from Gotham are riding high on a four-game winning streak, while the Memphis squad has been singing the blues of late.

Memphis had a tremendous run heading into the playoffs in 2011 and pounded their opponents on the boards, but they’ve had difficulty picking up where they left off due to injuries. Just prior to the late start of this shortened season the Griz lost 6’9” backup C/PF Darrell Arthur, who tore his Achilles tendon during practice. And they’ve been without their key big guy 12th-year PF 6’9” Zach Randolph since he injured his knee in the fourth game.

Randolph led the Grizzlies in both scoring and rebounding last year. Without Z-Bo’s interior toughness and at times prolific scoring and board work, Coach Lionel Hollins needs his other big men, especially 4th-year 7’1” C Marc Gasol, to step up their production, execution and intensity. This is especially important tonight with the Knicks boasting what many basketball brains consider the top frontcourt in the 30-team league. With 10th-year 6’11” 6X-All Star PF Amar’e Stoudemire, 9th-year 6’8’ 4X-All Star SF Carmelo Anthony and the new addition of 11th-year 7’1” shot-blocking C Tyson Chandler, coach Mike D’Antoni’s frontline is formidable at both ends of the court.

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Dan Lippitt/NBAE via Getty ImagesNew York last played yesterday, which may bode well for Memphis. The Knicks beat a Philadelphia team that was on a six-game winning streak 85-79. Carmelo Anthony had 27 points and 9 boards; Amar’e Stoudemire scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds; and Tyson Chandler led both teams with 13 boards in the victorious effort at MSG.

Tonight’s contest is the second of a four-game home stand for the Grizzlies, who were an impressive 30-11 at home last year. They played and lost on Tuesday to the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-95, their third loss in a row. After the Knicks, the Griz host New Orleans and then Chicago, so a win tonight could be just the answer to get Rudy Gay and company over their early season struggles. On the flip side, an ‘L’ to the men from MSG will leave the Grizzlies searching for answers.

Memphis’ backcourt trio of PG Mike Conley, SG O.J. Mayo and SG/defensive stopper Tony Allen will be matched up against the Knicks young one and two. 2nd-year SG Landry Fields and rookie combo guard Iman Shumpert have handled much of New York’s backcourt burden along with 3rd-year PG Toney Douglas. So while most of the attention will be paid to the Knicks front three triumvirate, the battles at the guard positions may ultimately decide this game.

Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and I will bring you the first matchup of tonight’s doubleheader on TNT when the Memphis Grizzlies host the New York Knicks at 8:00 PM EST.

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