Steeeeeve Nashhhhh!  Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

The Suns jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter, wiggle-waggled for bit before getting the lead back to 14 a couple of times in the second before letting it get down to 6 points at half.

Steve Nash had 13 first half assists, along with 8 points. Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 4 rebounds, along with a few offensive fouls drawn.



Stuff the Thunder! (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)




Here's hoping the Suns break through those thunder clouds to put a sunny smile on our faces!

(is that cheesy enough?)

Hit up Paul Coro's Orange Slices for some extra preview action

"The big thing for us is that we have to try to get back and get them in half-court offense," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Not that they're not a great half-court offensive team. But they're probably the best team in the league when they're getting out and running in transition. They've got so many guys who can handle it. When you mix in that they've got shooters spotted up all over the floor, it makes it very difficult."


Grant has to stay in Durant's grill all night. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

The West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder have been rolling along to the tune of a 13-game home winning streak. 13 games is a long streak. The Phoenix Suns have to bank on the law of averages. No one goes undefeated. Every team throws up a stinker once in a while. Let's hope that stinker happens to occur tonight, on the part of OKC.

Otherwise, the Suns are fighting a major uphill battle. Oklahoma City is the best team in the Western Conference, running on all cylinders. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden dominate the game.

How can the Suns win? If Marcin Gortat outplays Kendrick Perkins, Robin Lopez outplays Nick Collison, Steve Nash outplays Russell Westbrook, and Grant Hill holds Kevin Durant below his averages, then... maybe the Suns can withstand the other guys who will step up in their places. Oy.

Check out the Thunder stats:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Kevin Durant 38 38.2 9.9 19.7 50.4 1.8 5.0 37.0 6.4 7.6 83.7 0.6 7.3 7.9 3.3 3.7 1.4 1.1 1.8 28.1
Russell Westbrook 38 35.3 8.9 19.1 46.4 0.8 2.8 30.2 5.1 6.2 81.8 1.5 3.4 4.9 5.5 4.1 1.7 0.3 2.2 23.7
James Harden 37 31.7 4.8 10.1 47.2 1.6 4.5 35.1 5.3 6.2 85.2 0.5 3.7 4.2 3.6 2.0 0.9 0.2 2.5 16.5
Serge Ibaka 38 27.8 3.5 6.8 51.4 0.0 0.0 100.0 1.2 1.9 65.3 3.0 4.5 7.5 0.4 1.2 0.6 3.2 2.7 8.2
Daequan Cook 37 20.0 2.1 5.6 37.2 1.5 4.4 34.4 0.2 0.4 57.1 0.3 2.3 2.6 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.3 1.3 5.9
Thabo Sefolosha 18 20.9 1.6 3.6 45.3 0.7 1.5 48.1 1.3 1.4 88.5 0.4 2.3 2.7 0.9 0.7 0.9 0.4 1.7 5.2
Kendrick Perkins 37 26.9 1.5 3.3 45.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.4 2.0 71.2 1.8 4.8 6.5 0.9 2.1 0.3 1.2 2.9 4.4
Eric Maynor 9 15.1 1.6 4.3 35.9 0.7 1.9 35.3 0.4 0.4 100.0 0.3 1.1 1.4 2.4 1.2 0.6 0.0 1.4 4.2
Nick Collison 35 20.6 1.7 2.7 63.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 1.0 69.4 1.5 2.5 4.1 1.2 1.0 0.5 0.3 2.7 4.1
Reggie Jackson 32 11.7 1.3 3.8 32.5 0.3 1.5 23.4 0.7 0.8 85.2 0.2 0.9 1.1 1.6 1.0 0.6 0.0 1.0 3.6
Nazr Mohammed 36 12.1 1.4 3.0 46.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.5 58.8 0.9 2.0 2.9 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.6 1.7 3.1
Cole Aldrich 14 8.2 1.1 2.0 53.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.7 90.0 0.6 1.5 2.1 0.1 0.4 0.4 0.7 1.1 2.8
Royal Ivey 15 11.1 1.0 2.7 37.5 0.7 2.1 35.5 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.4 0.5 0.0 0.7 2.7
Ryan Reid 4 2.8 1.0 1.0 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.3 2.0
Lazar Hayward 12 5.9 0.5 1.7 30.0 0.1 0.4 20.0 0.4 0.8 50.0 0.1 0.8 0.9 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.7 1.5

This is a very good Thunder team playing at home. Tough game.

The Suns have to play hard and focused for all 48 minutes.

Go Suns!


Oklahoma City Thunder 115, Phoenix Suns 104 PHOENIX — No matter their second three-game winning streak of the season, the Phoenix Suns are a clear underdog as they hit the road to face the...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Channing Frye has surprised us with his aggressive play at times this season.

It's understandable when the Suns are having another disappointing season that fans look for scapegoats. With the team clearing cap space for this offseason, any opportunities to shed excess salary are being explored, including the obvious choices of Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick, two players who have been out of the rotation for large chunks of the season.

Channing Frye is another player who's been a favorite punching bag for frustrated Suns fans, as he's struggled with his shot for much of the season and is miscast as a starter. The problem, of course, is that the Suns don't have a better option at starting PF right now and probably won't for the balance of the season unless rookie Markieff Morris, who's in a shooting slump of his own, can grow up in a hurry.

As a starter, facing opponents such as Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, Frye simply doesn't stack up. But it's not fair to compare him to those players. Frye's on a middle class NBA salary of $5.6M this season. Let's see how he stacks up against other NBA big men in his pay grade, after the jump.

Last month, I broke down dollars per win share among current Suns players. Marcin Gortat shined by this measure as did Markieff Morris, who has the benefit (in this case) of a small salary due to his rookie contract. Channing Frye placed a respectable 4th, to go along with him being the Suns:

  • 2nd leading rebounder
  • 5th leading scorer
  • 4th in player efficiency rating (PER)
  • 5th in effective FG%
  • 4th in win shares/48 minutes at .090 (.100 is approximate league average)

What these numbers say to me, along with watching Frye play for the Suns these last 2+ years, is that he's an excellent bench player, lackluster starter and overall average player. He sometimes plays terrible, sometimes plays great, and sometimes both in the same game (i.e. his 2-18 shooting, 14 rebound, outstanding defensive performance vs. Blake Griffin) and it averages out to, well, average.

His $5.6M salary this season is also remarkably close to the league mean average salary, which was reported to be $5.15 last season. So, we all agree that Frye will never be a star and isn't compensated like one. Let's take a look at a group of players with whom he can be fairly compared. The following is NBA centers and power forwards who are making annual salaries within $2M of Frye's this year.

Behold my list of middle class big men, their salaries, win shares and $ per win share. Win shares courtesy of BasketballReference.com, salary data from ShamSports.com.

Frye_chart_medium

I avoided players under rookie contracts because they're paid under rookie scale and not on their open market value. These players above, living solidly in the middle class just as Frye is, were paid their fair market value. And there is Frye, right smack dab in the middle of a list of middle class big men. We can find better producers for less and worse producers for more, but Frye's contract isn't out of line.

The important point here is not just to properly value Frye, but to realize that if the Suns get rid of him for the sake of cap space, they're as likely to end up with a Kwame Brown as they are to end up with a Samuel Dalembert. In other words, a crapshoot.

Shedding salaries for cap space is great, but eventually you have to sign players with that cap space. The Suns will always have a need for a backup PF/C, one who can space the floor but also has a little versatility is better and Frye fits the bill at a reasonable, market value salary. That he's a good teammate and solid citizen helps too.

This isn't to say he shouldn't be traded if needed, but to dump him just to dump his salary? That doesn't make any sense. Lots of things are holding the Suns back from being a contender this season. Channing Frye and his average production for his average big man salary doesn't register as one of them.

For more exclusive content, follow us on Twitter @Brightsidesun and "Like" us on Facebook.


Page 846 of 1422

846

Sponsored Ads