Dressing in a corner of the Knicks’ locker room after their 97-93 win over the Charlotte Bobcats at the Garden, Wilson Chandler seemed genuinely surprised by the mass of media waiting to engage him in a Q & A session.
He should have expected it after a stellar 27-point, seven rebound, six assists performance, the second consecutive game in which the soft-spoken 22-year-old from Benton Harbor, Michigan led the Knicks in scoring.As Chandler approaches the mid-point of his third NBA season, he has evolved into a promising member of a team that has designs making it to the post season. The 6-8 guard/forward is averaging 14.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game. And his defense has significantly improved since being drafted by Isiah Thomas as a relative unknown from DePaul with the 23rd pick of the first round in the 2007 draft.”When you have good games you feel good about yourself,” said Chandler of his growing confidence. “I just want to go out there and be aggressive and make plays. Right now as a team we believe we have a good chance to be in the playoff race and we have a lot of guys that are stepping up.”The Knicks have not had a homegrown superstar since Patrick Ewing and Chandler certainly doesn’t fit the profile. Yet he and 21 year old Danilo Gallinari do have appealing upside and could be part of a championship nucleus in the not too distant future.”I would love to be here for a while,” said Chandler, who has another year remaining on his contract after this season. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. You hear so many things but you can’t really worry about it. I’m just going to keep trying to get better.”The Knicks travel to Detroit to face the sinking Pistons on Saturday night, and meet the Pistons again on Monday (1:00 P.M.) at MSG in the annual Martin Luther King Day game.