For a Phoenix fan, Frye’s addition to the team in July last year was a very attractive prospect. Having attended St. Mary’s high school in the valley and then rocking his way to the NBA through the University of Arizona, Frye flew to Phoenix out of Portland as fast as he could and we welcomed him with open arms. Now we’re facing the possibility of his departure. It’s been one hell of a season for our 6’11" Forward-Center.
His first and maybe even last season with the Suns, summed up by the most important people in the basketball universe (the Bright Side readers), produces Frye’s final grade for the 2009-10 season.
Wil Cantrell had a chance to sit down for a Q&A session with Ben from Blazer’s Edge just after Frye signed with the Suns. This helped us get an idea of what we could expect from Frye in the upcoming season. Most fans had mixed feelings about how he’d contribute to the team, but the general consensus was that of the "wait and see" variety. The season started average enough. Frye’s first game (preseason, Warriors) saw him manufacture the first six points on back-to-back triples with some long twos peppered in later in the half. Frye proved at once that all the summer talk about him being a floor-spacing jump shooter at the center spot was more than just talk, and we were excited to see what he’d bring to the table when the big guys started coming to dinner. After a great game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (Suns 3-0 lead at the start of the season), Frye said:
"It's early in the season so we will see how defenses start to play me. I think a lot of teams weren't going to play me as a shooter I thought I was, but now I'm kind of establishing that. I just need to continue working on my game and stay humble."
Maybe others thought they could push him around in the beginning, but we saw Frye’s defensive efforts essentially evolve before our eyes after Gentry put more pressure on him to rebound and defend. The pressure eventually led to his relegation to the bench, and as the defensive efforts stepped up, so did Frye’s feistiness. Remember the Pacers game with the ejection? Things got heated with 46.7 seconds remaining in the third period when the Pacers' Earl Watson (read: punk-ass baby) appeared to push Frye. Danny Granger then took a swipe at Frye, who swung back. Roy Hibbert and Jason Richardson also joined the altercation. Technicals ensued. For more on Frye’s evolution, check out this practice report when Frye says:
"I started out my career looking at the 17 footer, then it was the 3, now I'm kind of a hybrid. I'm just trying to slow down and play with confidence, which is tough sometimes since I'm a perfectionist."
Oh, and for those of you who like numbers and since we’re getting close to the grade:
Regular Season Stats:
GP: 81 GS: 41 MPG: 27.0 FG%: .451 3P%: .439
FT%: .810 RPG: 5.3 APG: 1.4 SPG: .8 BPG: .9 PPG: 11.2
GP: 16 GS: 0 MPG: 27.2 FG%: .364 3P%: .349
FT%: .938 RPG: 5.6 APG: .9 SPG: .8 BPG: .6 PPG: 8.2
In Game 6 of the Lakers series, Frye had 13 rebounds and added 12 points off the bench. I personally breathed a sigh of relief. I would even go as far as to say it was his personal best game of the season, all things considered. I felt like he deserved a little detention or maybe some Saturday school after a few of those playoff games. That being said, although I’m a pretty firm believer in building a players’ confidence up as much as possible, I just can’t fake an A on Channing Frye. His playoff performance in the Lakers series tipped the scales. If he stays with us and completes some more of those extra credit assignments I mentioned before, his grade next season should shoot up to A status. ‘Til then…
Final Grade: B