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Phoenix Suns pregame: How Channing Frye is (not yet) doing well in Orlando with the Magic

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a Q and A on Channing Frye with Zach Oliver of the SB Nation partner Orland Pinstriped Post. Channing had a knee issue in training camp and did not play any games with the team until after the season had started.

Let's check out how Channing is doing with the Magic, ahead of tonight's tilt between the Magic and the Suns.


Bright Side: 1) How has Channing fit in with the Magic? Looks like he's playing a lot of PF minutes as a stretch 4. He's shooting a career-high rate of threes (64% of all his shots) and converting a lot of them (42%) but his points per 36 are a career low (under 10). How come he's not more a part of the offense?

Zach Oliver: Channing's fit with the team has been interesting so far. He missed all of training camp and preseason with an MCL sprain, and I think it really put him, and his teammates, behind. They seem to lack a certain level of chemistry out there at times, and certainly that can be attributed to the missed time.

As for him not scoring as much... I think it's part of building chemistry, and also part of the team not really running plays that can fit his game. He's so deadly in the pick-and-pop game, but they haven't really used him a lot there.

I wrote a little bit about him, and how the team needed to get him more involved after Wednesday night's game against the Golden State Warriors. With more time, and hopefully better health for the team, they can find a way to get Channing more involved, because when he's on, and the team is finding him, the offense is at it's best, as we saw against the Detroit Pistons a few weeks ago.

2) Has Channing been a good leader in the locker room? He was a quiet leader that helped the young Suns a year ago stay even-keeled all year. Has he been the same on Orlando?

I think so. We really haven't seen him really "coaching up" any of the younger guys following games, but I imagine he's been helping them behind the scenes quite a bit. He has been vocal about things this season, however, which I think could be a good thing for the team. Channing and Tobias Harris are also cousins, so I think that, if anyone, Channing's impact has been big with Tobias, who's playing some of the best basketball of his career to start the season.

3) He was quoted recently of being "tired of losing" after only about 10 games. Was that just to light a fire? Or does he seem frustrated?

Probably a mix of both. There's been a bit of frustration in the locker room from a handful of guys recently, so it's clear they're all pretty frustrated with their play. In that piece I linked previously, I talked some about Evan Fournier talking about the team playing "selfish" basketball, and it's shown out there.

Channing has been frustrated some, be it with him play or the way things are going so far. After one of his first few games, he said he needed more shots, and he got those shots for a few games, but hasn't gotten those consistently. He also talked about how he needed to rebounded better, and he has for a few games, but I'd imagine it isn't where he wants it to be on a per game basis.

This West coast trip for them is going to be big. We're going to really learn who they are, and maybe the frustration will seep out even more and light a fire under them. They've been playing some uninspiring basketball of late, so we'll see if guys comments are really taken to heart or not.

4) Channing was an okay post defender with the Suns, something few teams and fans really knew about him that really helped solidify his role in the lineup beyond just threes. Has that been evident in Orlando?

No, not really. Channing has really struggled in a lot of aspects this season, most notably rebounding consistently and defensively. He's been abused more often than not, and it's been frustrating for many to watch.

He's been playing a ton as you alluded to in the first question, but has been put in some positions where he hasn't been successful. On Friday night, David West had his way with him on the boards and scoring the ball. Over the course of the season, I would imagine things will even out, but right now, it's been a struggle for Channing defensively.

5) In the small sample size so far this season, has the deal for Channing been worth it?

Right now, I would lean on the side of no. The way he's been used in the offense hasn't fully allowed him to show his real worth, and that's one of the biggest problems as to why he hasn't fulfilled the shoes that contract came with. And that's not his fault by any means, but his lackluster defense and below average rebounding hurts him quite a bit.

Over time I believe the deal will prove to be a good one once the team has good chemistry, and things are going smoother. Now, that might be next season, especially if the team ends up with a new head coach, but, it'll prove it's worth. It just needs time.


Thanks for the feedback, Zach!

You can follow Zach Oliver on twitter at @ZachOliverNBA. Zach writes for our SB Nation partner Orlando Pinstriped Post and contributes to Thunder Obsessed.

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