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Player-by-Player: Channing Frye

Minutes--  Last Year: 26.3  This Year:  17.2  Change:  -9.1

Points-- Last Year: 9.5  This Year:  6.8  Change:  -2.7

Field Goals Attempted--  Last Year: 9.6  This Year:  5.8  Change:  -3.8

Field Goal Percentage--  Last Year: 43.3%  This Year:  48.8%  Change:  +5.5%

Three-Pointers Attempted--  Last Year: 0.3  This Year: 0.1  Change:  -0.2

Three-Point Percentage--  Last Year:  16.7%  This Year:  30.0%  Change:  +13.3%

Free Throws Attempted--  Last Year:  1.5 This Year:  1.4  Change:  -0.1

Free Throw Percentage-- Last Year:  78.7%  This Year: 78.0%  Change:  -0.7%

Effective Field Goal Percentage-- Last Year:  43.5%  This Year: 49.1%  Change:  +5.6%

Offensive Rebounds-- Last Year: 1.3  This Year: 1.4  Change:  +0.1

Defensive Rebounds-- Last Year:  4.2  This Year: 3.2  Change:  -1.0

Overall Rebounds-- Last Year: 5.5  This Year: 4.5  Change:  -1.0

Assists-- Last Year: 0.9  This Year: 0.7  Change:  -0.2

Steals--  Last Year: 0.5  This Year: 0.4  Change:  -0.1

Blocks-- Last Year: 0.6  This Year: 0.3  Change:  -0.3

Turnovers-- Last Year:  1.4  This Year: 0.7  Change:  -0.7

Salary Status:  One year at $3.2 million then a possible qualifying offer.

Channing Frye had perhaps the most interesting year of any Blazer.  Some guys started of the season like a house on fire.  He started off the season like a house that just slid off the side of a cliff into a tar pit and then had the Osbournes move in next door.  Men may be from Mars and women from Venus but Channing looked like he was from the third moon of Uranus.  "Lost" didn’t describe how he looked out there, more like stunned and disoriented.  The jumpers he took he hit, but his post moves, defense, rebounding, and court presence were non-existent.  The combination of adjusting to a new team and having only two years of experience under his belt submarined him.  He got pulled out of the rotation in late November and early December.  When he got re-inserted because of an injury to Lamarcus Aldridge he put up a string of games shooting 38% or less.  You could hear the groans.

Then a funny thing happened.  

We traveled to Denver, still without Aldridge.  This was to be the end of our six-game winning streak.  Then all of a sudden Channing hits everything he tosses up, ending the game with 20 points and 9 rebounds on 10-13 shooting in 26 minutes.  The only people scratching their heads more than the Nuggets were Blazer fans.  What the heck happened?  Channing re-discovered his confidence.  To say he tore up the rest of the season would be inaccurate.  He continued going up and down, finally settling into a rhythm where he became a steady rebounder as well as a good jump-shooter.  When given ample minutes in the last weeks of the season he put up decent scoring numbers as well, notching 6 double-figure scoring efforts in his last 7 games.  He never did show the ability to defend the interior but he at least got more aggressive in fouling trespassers in the paint.  His post moves still looked like warmed-over cow pies but he began cutting to the hoop and got some interior buckets on the move.  He became a contributor, which was a pleasant development given where he started.

You can’t compare Channing’s season-to-season stats accurately because of the move and corresponding change in role.  The things to concentrate on are the big, green numbers.  His overall field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage were career highs, exceeding those of his rookie year when everybody was excited about him.  Our offense was good for him.  He also notched a clear career high in rebounds per minute (not listed here).  As he came to understand what this team needed he gave it to them, as befits the guy who crowned himself the "Buffet of Goodness" before the season started.  By all accounts Channing was also a positive influence backstage and in the community, which is an added plus.

Like Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez, Travis Outlaw, et al Channing shares the favorable combination of youth and low salary.  There's no harm in keeping him for another year nor would the Blazers have any difficulty trading him if they so desired.  Channing’s future with the team is a matter for the Magic 8-Ball.  On the one hand he’s shown some promise and would make a fine member of the organization.  (Though we must remember what KP said about guys who excel in the last couple weeks of the season.  Their summer-bred impression on the fans exceeds reality.)  On the other hand in less than a year Blazer fans are going to rue every single minute Greg Oden and Lamarcus Aldridge aren’t on the floor.  That leaves precious few backup minutes for a guy in Channing’s position.  From a team perspective you have to ask whether you prefer Joel Przybilla’s defense and rebounding at center and Travis Outlaw’s explosiveness at power forward to the smooth jumpers Channing brings.  If so there’s no room for Frye to play.  Also you have to wonder if he isn’t too close to Lamarcus in style and strengths.  Sometimes a contrast off the bench is good, especially if your power forward is getting knocked around and you need a bruiser.  Channing is a big man, but he’s a classic University of Arizona big man.  He’s unlikely to turn into a post scorer or defender anytime soon.  On the other hand his game should fit quite well with Greg Oden's, which is a big plus.  

From Channing’s point of view you have to wonder if a young guy who considers himself promising is going to be content playing behind Lamarcus and Oden for the rest of his career.  Never getting more than 20 minutes a game on a consistent basis means never getting big numbers and never getting big paychecks.  You only get one shot at the NBA and third (or fourth) fiddle isn’t most guys’ idea of making the most of it.  

If Channing is going to stay long-term he’s going to have to become indispensible in at least one or two ways.  Right now he’s hanging around on "nice to have" street.  That’s a long way from

Key Player Avenue
.  I’m curious to see what parts of his game he works on over the summer and how he develops next season…a contract year for him.

Verdict:

Channing_medium 

         We’ll be watching you with interest, Baby.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)