Briefly, why is this such a big deal?
Tyson Chandler, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, had a Player Efficiency Rating of 18.7 in 2011-12. He played slightly more than 33 minutes per game.
In 2010-11, for Dallas, his PER was 18.4. But he played in just under 28 minutes per game.
In 2010-11, his playoff PER was 15.2. In 2011-12, it was 10. Now, that includes an unfortunate illness, which throws the whole stat line off. But it is worth considering that a fresher Chandler is vital to the Knicks; remember how much they struggled on the interior without him.
Camby, signed this summer, is a strong approximation of Chandler (or at least, the closest a team can get at backup center money). He’s a strong defensive center whose PER was 16.2 last year.
So it matters that Camby is around for two reasons: one, because when Chandler is off the court, the Knicks won’t suffer. Two, that reality will give Mike Woodson a chance to ride Chandler a little less in the regular season, which should make Chandler fresher for the playoffs.
Incidentally, there’s also a third reason: I haven’t the slightest idea who plays center if Chandler is resting and Camby can’t go. Kurt Thomas? Henry Sims? Both are likely downgrades over what the Knicks got from Josh Harrellson and Jared Jeffries last season.
So Marcus Camby, for those scoring at home, is the difference between the center position improving over last year, or declining significantly, even assuming constant production from Chandler through both seasons.
Get well soon, Marcus.