Is Wilson Chandler Pulling a Vince Carter?
Closing out the month 4-1 looked like a very real possibility for the Zhejiang Guangsha Golden Bulls on December 30. Facing a winless Shanghai squad devoid of anyone really able to stop NBA loaner Wilson Chandler, Guangsha seemed like a shoe-in. Chandler has averaged 33 pts per game over the first four games of the season and reports have been that no one has been able to stop him from filling it up.
But oh how expectations were dashed.
Shanghai played a cohesive, fluid game and buried Guangsha 91-75. But the story of the game wasn’t the surprise victory or the margin of the Shark’s win. Nor was it the visit from Sharks owner and former All Star center Yao Ming. It was Wilson Chandler, or rather the guy who looked like he couldn’t have cared less about playing in China. Make no mistake about it, Chandler is, hands down, the most talented player to play in China this season. His offensive repertoire is so varied and advanced, his athleticism and size so otherworldly in this league that there is nary a player in the CBA who could contain him one-on-one. Chandler is fully aware of this, as evidenced by his first game going off for 43 pts. and 22 reb.
But the Chandler that I saw on Wednesday night was not this player. What I saw was a player who jogged down the floor on nearly every possession, a player visibly upset with his team’s lack of basketball knowhow, a player absolutely content to hoist up shot after shot from distance rather than work for points on the block or in the lane. His substantial skills were enough to still net him 26 pts and 11 boards, but was consistently outplayed by Shanghai’s lesser imports, Mike “Beast Mode” Harris and Ryan “Bubs” Forehan-Kelly (players need nicknames and I’m more than happy to dole them out).
Also, lets not leave out the decision to sit Chandler nearly the entire 2nd quarter with the team down throughout. The team explained that the rest of the players have had difficulty putting together much offense with Chandler on the floor so they have been experimenting with sitting Chandler long stretches so get more players involved in the scoring. That might work if your team has a lead, but when your down and the lead is being widened every other possession? Not the soundest decision making I've ever heard of. Sounds more like someone is preparing for life after W.C. (kind of a stretch, but also a plausible stretch to me at least.)
Much has been made this week about NBA players in China being unable to force their ways out of the CBA. Everyone from Yahoo!Sports to the Wall Street Journal have written about the considerable penalties that would be heaped upon teams and players alike if a contract is cut short. My own theory? Chandler is trying to play his way out of the CBA. Everyone remembers Vince Carter doing this in Toronto and from what I saw on Wednesday, its happening again in Zhejiang. Whether or not this is part of the unwritten agreement being teams and their NBA signings (and I am not the only person to have written about this), or if Chandler is merely taking matters into his own hands I can’t say for sure.
As I said before, I could also be totally out of my mind, someone whose view of how things work has been tainted by the reality of China. But what I saw on Wednesday was a player no longer wanting to play for his current team and employing a few tricks he remembers former players pulling to get out of an unwanted situation.
thats why you get an nba lockout out clause just in case you regret your decision. Chandler is a talented player but he put this on himself.
I was at the game on wednesday, and I couldn't agree more. Chandler was clearly the most talented player on the floor. He could get to the line at will, but he settled on jacking up step-back 20+ footers (of which he made quite a few, but still). On the court, he never hustled, never got involved in an offensive set, and was visibly upset with his teammates. Off the court, he draped his head in a towel and ignored everyone but his handlers. Chandler clearly wants out.