Here at Bright Side of the Sun, we take the words TOTAL COVERAGE pretty dang seriously. While our beloved Suns are off taking nice vacations, we are still slaving away, attempting to provide you all with first class Suns coverage.
So friends, without further adieu, we present you with the Phoenix Suns Season in Review, 2011-12.
Today's review will be Channing Frye.
Channing Frye has long had the reputation of being a stretch power forward/center who relies mostly on efficient three point shooting to be an effective part of the offense. Although Frye is 6'11" tall, he is not usually known for providing size or strength to his team down low, but rather is used mostly as a weapon beyond the arc who is best at catching and shooting when open.
Or at least that's how he was perceived in the past.
Read on after the jump for an in-depth look at Frye's statistics and an analysis of his overall play during the past season.
First, let's take a look at Channing Frye's basic stats over the last three seasons since he's been in Phoenix:
Here are his Per 36 Stats:
His advanced stats:
And Finally, here is how he compared to the rest of the Suns team:
Looking at all of the above stats, there are a couple of things that jump out. Although Frye's basic stats appear to show a slight decline in his offensive production, his 'Per 36' stats show that he actually had a slightly better performance than last season, but not quite as good as the year prior. This means that he played less minutes overall than in the previous seasons, but still managed to score more points during his time on the floor.
This season, Frye was the Suns 2nd best rebounder, 2nd best shot blocker (overall), 2nd best free throw shooter, 5th highest scorer.
Furthermore, these stats also show that Frye made improvements in his rebounding, his defense rating (the lower the number the better), his free throw percentage, and his blocked shots. However, these stats do show a decline in his three-point attempts, three-point makes, three-point percentage, and his overall field goal percentage as well. Frye shot an uncharacteristically low .346 from beyond the arc this season which explains the drop off in these categories, but as it shows above, he still managed to score at a higher rate when he was on the floor this season...and for most of those who watched the Suns this year, it's probably fairly apparent as to why...He was much improved this year in his scoring inside the three point line.
So why don't these stats show that big of a difference, and still show an overall decline in his field goal percentage? Well, like the Suns, Frye's year was a tale of two seasons....His pre All-Star break stats, and his post All-Star break stats.
As you can see, Frye was a much different player in the second half of the season, just like the Suns were a completely different team. He was much more aggressive in getting to the basket and much less likely to settle for the three point shot. He shot 19 fewer three-point attempts but made them at a higher percentage. This shows he was much more selective in his three-point shooting during the second half of the season and it made a difference. He also attempted a dozen more free throws after the all-star break, which also shows a more aggressive style of play in the second half of the season. Looking at this split, you can see that he improved across the board in every single category after the all-star break, and when Frye is playing well, the Suns usually follow suit.
I don't mean to make it sound as though Frye is the end all and be all to this team, but it should be obvious to everyone who watched the suns last season just how big a part of the Suns' offense, and even their success at defense and rebounding that Frye is. When Frye was injured late in the season during their playoff push, the Suns struggled to move the ball effectively and the two-man game between Nash and Gortat also suffered because of it.
Frye had a very slow start to the season that even prompted Gentry to replace him in the starting line-up for a couple of games. However, he bounced back after the all-star break in a big way and was one of the biggest reasons for the Suns turnaround in my opinion. And once he injured his right shoulder, I believe his absence was the biggest reason the Suns didn't make the playoffs as well.
My overall grade for Frye this season: B
Frye's unique skill set gives the Suns the ability to spread the floor to let Nash operate and either find Gortat in the paint, or kick it out to an open shooter (like Frye). What these stats show, and what we should all hope that Frye is learning, is that he is able to contribute much more to this team than just being a spot up shooter. Although the Suns want to use Frye's three-point shooting ability to spread the offense, they don't want him to just settle for that shot when he can also give the Suns an inside scoring and rebounding presence.
These stats give me hope that Frye is still developing into a better overall player for the Suns, and if he can learn what aspects of his game gave both he and the Suns greater success this season, he could become a much more efficient player for the Suns for years to come.
In other news, it was reported that Channing Frye also underwent a successful surgery on his right shoulder yesterday that should hopefully remedy the problems he's been having with it over the last couple of seasons. Get well soon Channing...The Suns need you!
*All stats used in this article were provided by basketball-reference.com