Tyson Chandler: Lack of preparation doomed Knicks in 2013 series

It was probably the biggest missed opportunity of the last decade-plus for the Knicks. Definitely a pivot point.

They were the two-seed in the Eastern Conference, riding the best version of Carmelo Anthony to the most victories since 1997. But that run ended prematurely and disappointingly in the second round against the Pacers, kicking off a seven-year stretch of failures and zero postseason appearances.

About a decade later, Tyson Chandler, the starting center on that squad, revealed that a lack of preparation doomed the Knicks. He said the team never held a shootaround or practice before Game 1 against the Pacers, which Chandler believes resulted in a 1-0 series deficit.

“They canceled the shootaround, which me and Jason (Kidd) was like, ‘Nah, we’re going to another series, we got to prepare for this team,’” Chandler said on a podcast, ‘All the Smoke,’ that was posted this week.

Context is important. The Knicks had an opportunity to sweep the Celtics in the opening round, but they dropped two games after JR Smith was suspended for elbowing Jason Terry in the face.

By stretching the series to six games, the Knicks only had one day off before the conference semis. According to Chandler, the Knicks, who were coached by Mike Woodson, decided to cancel the practice on the off day because they thought they could prepare the morning of the game. But the tipoff for Game 1 was 3 p.m., and the morning shootaround was also canceled for time constraints.

“We ended up not being able to have a shootaround, so we weren’t able to go over our strategy,” Chandler said. “So Indiana comes in and sneaks Game 1 (at MSG). So now we’re behind the 8-ball.”

That game represented the only home loss for either squad before the Knicks lost the series, 4-2. The Pacers were then eliminated in the conference finals by the Heat, which won the title after losing 3 of its 4 regular-season matchups against the Knicks.

“I honestly feel like if we got past [the Pacers], we had a legitimate chance to win the chip that year,” said Chandler, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.

The Knicks didn’t get by the Pacers, of course. A year later, Phil Jackson took over basketball operations and began dismantling the roster, which was underachieving and heavy on aging veterans.

Chandler was quickly traded to the Mavericks.

“We allowed the success that we had get to us. And we was in chill mode,” Chandler said, “like we had done something.”


The Knicks announced Friday the signing of Charlie Brown Jr. to an Exhibit 10 contract, meaning the 26-year-old guard has a small guarantee and will probably be invited to training camp.

Brown Jr., a Philadelphia product, was the Knicks’ top performer at the Vegas Summer League last month. He has bounced around since going undrafted in 2019, playing most last season in the G League.

The Knicks, who open camp in early October, essentially have three open roster spots. Their other players on non or partially guaranteed deals include Isaiah Roby, DaQuan Jeffries, Duane Washington Jr., Jacob Toppin and Dmytro Skapintsev.