Goran Dragic is ready for the challenge and responsibility of taking this Suns team by the reins and stepping into the spotlight. Not an easy task to handle given that he's replacing two-time MVP Steve Nash. So how does somebody in Goran's shoes prepare for such a defining season?


This week is a sad week for Channing Frye, but in some ways it should be a happy one. It’s beyond terrible that Frye was blindsided with news that he has an enlarged heart that will likely keep...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Tag.  You're it.

The Phoenix Suns held a press conference on Friday after the reports regarding Channing Frye's enlarged heart (dilated cardiomyopathy) were made public. Now that the initial shock has worn off, the prognosis from the Suns seems to be more sanguine that saturnine.

"There is a very real chance that he could return to normal function and a normal lifestyle and that's what we all need to be hopeful for," said team cardiologist Tim Byrne. When asked if he thought the chance was better than not he responded, "Yes. The chance is better than not."

Frye will be reevaluated in December and the expectation is that he very well may miss the entire season. That is a crushing blow to a Suns team in need of stability and leadership while they navigate the obstacles of a transition from one era to the next. We all wish Channing the best and a speedy recovery, but what impact will Frye's absence have on the Suns this coming season?

Punch it for some particulars from the presser and a prognosis for Planet Orange.

Babby was his usual eloquent self at the press conference. He was bursting with pithy aphorisms (I think I've heard him refer to them as apothegms on a previous occasion - a man after my own heart).

"Sometimes in life when you travel down a road and you look far down that road it looks like it's the end of the road, but if you keep travelling and you keep going down that path when you get to what appeared to be the end of the road it turns out it was only a bend in the road and if you make the right turns the road has a long, long way to go," said Babby. "Channing knows he has our full support as he travels down this path."

I have no doubt that the Suns will exhaust every possible resource to ensure that Frye has a full recovery. This organization has a long tradition of being peerless in terms of their medical staff and player care. In spite of Sarver's shortcomings and malfeasance with respect to basketball, I have complete faith that he will go to any length in this situation.

Babby continued, "There is a lot of pressure in this job and in this business. There is no pressure in these circumstances."

Frye presented as optimistic overall, and appears to have a very grounded perspective about the situation. He will still be rehabbing his shoulder in the coming days, but will be limited to non-aerobic activities such as walking, yoga, pilates and golf (there's a silver lining!).

"Any time an athlete hears something about your heart. Like I said yesterday, it's not a knee, it's not a shoulder, you know, it's not your foot. It's not something that they can say well, this is gonna get better if you do A, B, C and D." said Frye. "This is something that's internal and we just have to wait and see."

When asked if he had decided not to play this year Frye responded, "Well, it's not like I not decided. I think it's just, I would almost say irresponsible of me to push something like this unless I had full clearance from not only Dr. Byrne, but I think he would almost recommend me seeing another doctor and making sure that everything is, you know, I'm never going to be 100%, I've had eight years in the league, but at least 99. This is not something to play with because this affects me every day that I'm running out there and pushing myself. So until I get full clearance from not only the Suns and Dr. Byrne, and maybe another doctor, I'm going to hope to come back as soon as I can, but at the same time I have to allow my body to do what it has to do so, you know, when my son's 15 or 16 I don't just have to sit on the sidelines. I can actually go out and hoop with him and run with my daughter and go out there and play."

Team cardiologist Tim Byrne joined the press conference by telephone and also fielded questions. "The fact that Channing presented with such a high functional status and the fact that this was found with the screening so early would really portend an excellent prognosis," said Dr. Byrne.

He said that the most likely cause was a virus, "But after all the testing has been completed we still don't really know." He finished by saying that, "When he's cleared, he'll be cleared to participate at the highest level. But that's when and if."

Hopefully it's when, not if.

Frye also expressed his gratitude for the support he has received from everyone. He said that even fans of the Lakers and Spurs had sent their wishes. Thank you (really) for the gesture, but don't think this means we don't still hate you.

There was one thing that bugged me about the press conference.

Early at the press conference when Frye was asked how long he had known about the condition, he told the reporters it had been a week or two. Wouldn't he know exactly how long it had been? Near the end of the interview Channing told them that he was rested because he hadn't done anything in three weeks. Why was he being prevaricative, or is it possible that the recent events have just blended together due to the stress and the strain? I don't know, but it just seemed odd.

Now for some basketball discussion, what with the start of training camp only eight days away. Babby said that he doesn't expect the team to do anything dramatic at this point. They had already prepared for the possibility that Frye would miss time due to his shoulder injury. I personally think that Uncle Lon is trying to put on a brave face in front of the children, because I'm positive that he realizes this is a game changer for the upcoming season.

Frye brought a lot of versatility to this team. He is really the only player on the roster who has proven that he can effectively play both the four and the five for extended minutes. This provided invaluable depth to the roster. Frye also added an extra dimension to the game with his ability to spread the floor as a stretch big. Frye actually led the team in made three point field goals each of his three seasons in Phoenix. It appears that the Suns may be preparing to play a more traditional lineup this season with two bigs on the block.

Babby seemed to think that was the direction the team was headed as he mentioned that this would be a chance for Scola and Morris to earn more minutes before he offered that Beasley could also play spot minutes at the four. The more we see of Scola and O'Neal, the less we will see of three point attempts from the front court.

2011-12_pf_comparison_medium

This chart shows the per36 values for the Suns front court players (minus Gortat) from last season. The boxes shaded in green are areas where Frye ranked either first or second among this grouping last season. I know we can argue this point interminably, but I will go on the record saying that based on last season I would have taken Frye over anyone in this group. Now that the Suns have lost Frye during one of his prime years, they have two aging veterans and two unproven tyros.

The Suns will not get cap relief due to Frye's condition. They would have to be over the cap in order to be granted an exception to sign a replacement. The Suns are not over the cap. The chart listed below shows exactly where the team stands. What Frye's condition does mean is that he will not be traded as some people hoped recently speculated. Scola isn't going anywhere (until next year at least) and Morris isn't going anywhere. These are the Suns power forwards.

2012-13_salary_figures_medium

Frye was, if nothing else, a safety net for the Suns. Now they are walking a tightrope without one. Scola not working out? Sophomore growing pains for Morris? Frye was at least a fairly proven commodity. Once again, probably more proven than the litter of question marks that now populate the Suns front court. As the chart shows, the Suns do still have flexibility. The Scola waiver claim could end up being a coup if he plays well enough to mollify the sting of Frye's vacancy. Then again, if he falters, the Suns could be in big trouble.

How big of a detriment will Frye's absence be? Does this injury further diminish the glimmer of hope for a playoff run this season, or are you of the mindset that Frye was a bit piece at best this season anyway? Should the Suns pursue options to add to the roster, or are they better off to bide their time, save their money and wait to see what materializes as the season progresses (you know Babby loves to keep his powder dry)?


20120312_ajw_as8_554_standard_1348587097_400

The Phoenix Suns held a press conference on Friday after the reports regarding Channing Frye's enlarged heart (dilated cardiomyopathy) were made public. Now that the initial shock has worn off, the prognosis from the Suns seems to be more sanguine that saturnine.

"There is a very real chance that he could return to normal function and a normal lifestyle and that's what we all need to be hopeful for," said team cardiologist Tim Byrne. When asked if he thought the chance was better than not he responded, "Yes. The chance is better than not."

Frye will be reevaluated in December and the expectation is that he very well may miss the entire season. That is a crushing blow to a Suns team in need of stability and leadership while they navigate the obstacles of a transition from one era to the next. We all wish Channing the best and a speedy recovery, but what impact will Frye's absence have on the Suns this coming season?

Punch it for some particulars from the presser and a prognosis for Planet Orange.

Babby was his usual eloquent self at the press conference. He was bursting with pithy aphorisms (I think I've heard him refer to them as apothegms on a previous occasion - a man after my own heart).

"Sometimes in life when you travel down a road and you look far down that road it looks like it's the end of the road, but if you keep travelling and you keep going down that path when you get to what appeared to be the end of the road it turns out it was only a bend in the road and if you make the right turns the road has a long, long way to go," said Babby. "Channing knows he has our full support as he travels down this path."

I have no doubt that the Suns will exhaust every possible resource to ensure that Frye has a full recovery. This organization has a long tradition of being peerless in terms of their medical staff and player care. In spite of Sarver's shortcomings and malfeasance with respect to basketball, I have complete faith that he will go to any length in this situation.

Babby continued, "There is a lot of pressure in this job and in this business. There is no pressure in these circumstances."

Frye presented as optimistic overall, and appears to have a very grounded perspective about the situation. He will still be rehabbing his shoulder in the coming days, but will be limited to non-aerobic activities such as walking, yoga, pilates and golf (there's a silver lining!).

"Any time an athlete hears something about your heart. Like I said yesterday, it's not a knee, it's not a shoulder, you know, it's not your foot. It's not something that they can say well, this is gonna get better if you do A, B, C and D." said Frye. "This is something that's internal and we just have to wait and see."

When asked if he had decided not to play this year Frye responded, "Well, it's not like I not decided. I think it's just, I would almost say irresponsible of me to push something like this unless I had full clearance from not only Dr. Byrne, but I think he would almost recommend me seeing another doctor and making sure that everything is, you know, I'm never going to be 100%, I've had eight years in the league, but at least 99. This is not something to play with because this affects me every day that I'm running out there and pushing myself. So until I get full clearance from not only the Suns and Dr. Byrne, and maybe another doctor, I'm going to hope to come back as soon as I can, but at the same time I have to allow my body to do what it has to do so, you know, when my son's 15 or 16 I don't just have to sit on the sidelines. I can actually go out and hoop with him and run with my daughter and go out there and play."

Team cardiologist Tim Byrne joined the press conference by telephone and also fielded questions. "The fact that Channing presented with such a high functional status and the fact that this was found with the screening so early would really portend an excellent prognosis," said Dr. Byrne.

He said that the most likely cause was a virus, "But after all the testing has been completed we still don't really know." He finished by saying that, "When he's cleared, he'll be cleared to participate at the highest level. But that's when and if."

Hopefully it's when, not if.

Frye also expressed his gratitude for the support he has received from everyone. He said that even fans of the Lakers and Spurs had sent their wishes. Thank you (really) for the gesture, but don't think this means we don't still hate you.

There was one thing that bugged me about the press conference.

Early at the press conference when Frye was asked how long he had known about the condition, he told the reporters it had been a week or two. Wouldn't he know exactly how long it had been? Near the end of the interview Channing told them that he was rested because he hadn't done anything in three weeks. Why was he being prevaricative, or is it possible that the recent events have just blended together due to the stress and the strain? I don't know, but it just seemed odd.

Now for some basketball discussion, what with the start of training camp only eight days away. Babby said that he doesn't expect the team to do anything dramatic at this point. They had already prepared for the possibility that Frye would miss time due to his shoulder injury. I personally think that Uncle Lon is trying to put on a brave face in front of the children, because I'm positive that he realizes this is a game changer for the upcoming season.

Frye brought a lot of versatility to this team. He is really the only player on the roster who has proven that he can effectively play both the four and the five for extended minutes. This provided invaluable depth to the roster. Frye also added an extra dimension to the game with his ability to spread the floor as a stretch big. Frye actually led the team in made three point field goals each of his three seasons in Phoenix. It appears that the Suns may be preparing to play a more traditional lineup this season with two bigs on the block.

Babby seemed to think that was the direction the team was headed as he mentioned that this would be a chance for Scola and Morris to earn more minutes before he offered that Beasley could also play spot minutes at the four. The more we see of Scola and O'Neal, the less we will see of three point attempts from the front court.

2011-12_pf_comparison_medium

This chart shows the per36 values for the Suns front court players (minus Gortat) from last season. The boxes shaded in green are areas where Frye ranked either first or second among this grouping last season. I know we can argue this point interminably, but I will go on the record saying that based on last season I would have taken Frye over anyone in this group. Now that the Suns have lost Frye during one of his prime years, they have two aging veterans and two unproven tyros.

The Suns will not get cap relief due to Frye's condition. They would have to be over the cap in order to be granted an exception to sign a replacement. The Suns are not over the cap. The chart listed below shows exactly where the team stands. What Frye's condition does mean is that he will not be traded as some people hoped recently speculated. Scola isn't going anywhere (until next year at least) and Morris isn't going anywhere. These are the Suns power forwards.

2012-13_salary_figures_medium

Frye was, if nothing else, a safety net for the Suns. Now they are walking a tightrope without one. Scola not working out? Sophomore growing pains for Morris? Frye was at least a fairly proven commodity. Once again, probably more proven than the litter of question marks that now populate the Suns front court. As the chart shows, the Suns do still have flexibility. The Scola waiver claim could end up being a coup if he plays well enough to mollify the sting of Frye's vacancy. Then again, if he falters, the Suns could be in big trouble.

How big of a detriment will Frye's absence be? Does this injury further diminish the glimmer of hope for a playoff run this season, or are you of the mindset that Frye was a bit piece at best this season anyway? Should the Suns pursue options to add to the roster, or are they better off to bide their time, save their money and wait to see what materializes as the season progresses (you know Babby loves to keep his powder dry)?


staging_sbnu_20120621_mjr_su5_216.jpg

Good guy Kris Habbas spent the week breaking down the Suns' most important faces for the 2012-13 season. The list was fair game to include anyone related to the Suns. He asked all the BSotS writers to submit their own ideas for the top-25, then asked us each to rank the final list.

What came out of that process was interesting in many ways. The Suns' front office ranks poorly, the players are middling and the "other" list dominated the standings.

Hit the jump for details...

P.J. Tucker comes in as the Mr. Irrelevant - #25 on the list of the 25 Most Important Faces of the Suns franchise. But don't feel too bad for Tucker. By virtue of his ability to put on a uniform ranks him ahead of such luminaries as defensive guru Elston Turner, personnel boss John Treloar, color analyst Tom Chambers, new play-by-play guy Mr. Whatshisname, PR diva Julie Fie, stats guy Vince Kozar, and beat reporter Paul Coro. So there's that. More on these folks later in the story.

HOW THE SUNS FRONT OFFICE RANKED

In one word: poorly. These guys make all the personnel decisions that shape the franchise. They pay the bills, attract free agents and scout the world for the next big thing. Yet since they've taken over for still-minority-owner Steve Kerr, the Suns have dropped from Western Conference Finalist to rebuilding also-rans.

19. President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby - Uncle Lon ranks above his brethren simply because he's the one willing to take the heat on camera for each decision by the Suns' front office. He also took the heat for the inevitable turnover from geriatric Suns Steve Nash and Grant Hill. No matter what the next guy does after Lon's contract is up, the hardest part is done.

22. Managing Partner Robert Sarver - I personally ranked Sarver higher on the list of 25. He attends all the games, bumped up his contract offers in the past to keep Steve Nash (extension in 2010), Grant Hill (2010 and 2011) and Jared Dudley (5th year on 2010 extension) off the open market. When he finally caved and let two of them go this summer, he stepped up to approve the Nash trade for at least some assets, got commitment from Goran Dragic to return and claimed Scola off waivers. At least that's the off-the-record scuttlebutt. He doesn't want to tank.

24. General Manager Lance Blanks - Lance's top priority this summer was Michael Beasley - a low risk, high reward signing that will look good if it pans out, and can't possibly look worse than the Childress/Warrick signings of 2010. So he's got small shoes to fill on that front. But he drops almost to the bottom of this top-25 (I had him 25th, personally) because his top offseason target was Michael Beasley and in every press conference Lance attended this summer, he made some allusion to the good side of "lower expectations".

HOW THE SUNS COACHES RANKED

There's not a coaching genius in the bunch, but at least Suns fans appreciate the work put in by the coaches.

9. Head Coach Alvin Gentry - Fans generally give Gentry a passing grade for two main reasons: he is likeable and his teams play better in the second half than the first half, despite the declining second-half play of Steve Nash in each of those seasons. His teams always stayed together, never getting too high or too low. This season, we find out if that was Nash/Hill more than Gentry who kept the morale up so high.

10. Assistant Coach Dan Majerle - While Majerle is in the coaching list, he better belongs in the "faces" list along with Eddie Johnson. His primary role on the coaching staff is to develop young players, yet I haven't seen much development. But people love him, and his contributions to the Suns franchise since the dreamy run of 1988 have him cemented in the top-10 all-time.

HOW THE SUNS PLAYERS RANKED

5. Starting Point Guard Goran Dragic - In a ranking of the Suns' most important faces of the 2012-13 season, the highest ranking active player was at #5 overall? Yikes. At least the order is right. Goran belongs at the top because (a) people love him, (b) great memories of waxing the Spurs and (c) he's the most talented guy on the roster. Goran has high-level abilities at passing, shooting, driving, finishing and defense. He's big for his position and is humble. Plus, he proved he can lead a playoff contender in Houston. What more can we ask for?

6. Starting Center Marcin Gortat - As with last year, the Polish Machine is the second-best player on the Suns. On a contender, he would only be - at best - the 4th or 5th best player. Can he still score without Nash feeding him the ball? Yes! Can he hold up over the grind of an 82-game season banging under the basket with bigger guys? That's the biggest question.

8. Swingman Jared Dudley - Mr. Twitter as the 3rd most important player on the team? Yes. Mr. Social Media as the 3rd BEST player on the team? Ouch. Not a good sign. Dudley is hugely important to any team and is on a great contract, but he definitely should not be your third best player on the court.

11. Power Forward Markieff Morris - As I wrote the other day, the Suns need "Summer Morris" to show up this season. The alpha dog who can score in a multitude of ways and more than anything asserts his will on the game when he takes the court. On a team with only two "sure things" in the starting lineup, Morris has an opportunity to shine. The fact that six different guys - five from BSotS and Habbas from SB Nation AZ - ultimately ranked Morris as #4 on the player list tells you how much we all think of his potential (as well as the rest of the team).

12. Down and Out Channing Frye - sad panda. Frye had developed himself into a solid defensive rebounder and post defender despite being a total mess on offense the last couple of years. Yet Gentry relied on Channing in his starting lineup because he is smart, reliable and predictable. And, he created needed space for the Gortat/Nash pick-and-roll.

13. Power Forward Luis Scola - the Argentinian is different than any PF the Suns have had. He scores on a variety of creative post moves, all without leaving the comfort of solid ground. He can get into opponents' heads by making hustle plays and generally getting under their skin (ask Kevin Love, for example). Teammates LOVE Scola and opponents hate him. We haven't had that since Raja Bell.

14. Uber-talented Enigmatic Michael Beasley - If SuperCool can step up his game, he can help the Suns make the playoffs. Without Frye in the lineup, expect Beasley to play some small-ball PF where he's most suited. But he won't play that a lot if Morris steps up and Scola stays healthy.

15. Shooter Shannon Brown - last year's most athletic Sun is now just another athlete on a team of athletes who have not maxed out their potential. Just add Brown to the list of Beasley, Morris, Johnson and Dragic as the most athletic Suns. Brown must play well and do all the right things on the court to earn his playing time.

17. Backup Point Guard Sebastian Telfair - by no means should "starter" and "Telfair" be in the same sentence. He simply doesn't run the offense or provide enough of a scoring threat to lead a team for 30 minutes a night. But he's a great change-of-pace hustler for 10-15 minutes, as long as his shot is falling. When he's missing his jump shots though, the Suns go through killer stretches of 3 points in 6 minutes...

18. Rookie Backup Point Guard Kendall Marshall - it's good that there's no pressure on Marshall to perform this year. He can't shoot the basketball and may not be able to defend at NBA level. Yet he can pass and run an offense like nobody's business. Give this kid a year to watch and learn (a jumpshot and/or floater) and we'll see him rocket up this chart.

20. Backup veteran center Jermaine O'Neal - now that Frye is out, O'Neal is the Suns primary backup C. Let's hope #1 ranked Aaron Nelson has some more magic up his...uh...sleeve to keep O'Neal on the court. When healthy, he can make a jump shot, defend and block shots.

23. Swingman Wesley Johnson - he's got a prototype body and athletic ability for a wing player, picture-perfect jumpshot form, and a humble personality. He just hasn't learned to play basketball.

25. Mr. Irrelevant P.J. Tucker - with Frye out, Tucker's chance to shine just got brighter. We just don't know what that means.

OTHER "FACES" OF THE FRANCHISE, or THE CREAM OF THE CROP

Forget the players, coaches and front office personnel. The OTHER folks dominated the rankings of most important faces of the franchise. A trainer, a voice, a guy in a monkey suit (who's job is open right now) and a gaggle of girls rank above all the Suns players and decision-makers.

That they easily took the top 4 spots, and 5 of the top 7, is all you need to know about the Suns franchise at this time. Ugh.

1. Head Trainer Aaron Nelson

2. Play by Play Voice Al McCoy

3. The Gorilla

4. Dancers/Hip Hop Squad

7. Color Analyst Eddie Johnson

16. New Color Analyst Ann Meyers-Drysdale

21. Ousted play-by-play guy Tom Leander

With #12 overall Channing Frye out of the picture, we have an opening. Vote in the poll on who YOU would add to the top 25.

Poll
Who should take Channing Frye's place in the top 25?

  86 votes | Results


Page 743 of 1489

743

Sponsored Ads