PHOENIX — Channing Frye was relaxing in the Suns locker room before the Monday night game against the Denver Nuggets. With the Pac-12 tournament on his mind, he was dishing on the Arizona Wildcats, so of course I had to ask him about former UA wing and current Denver vet Andre Iguodala. That somehow turned into a conversation about where the Nuggets stand as a playoff team, how the Clippers compare to the elite and of course, DeAndre Jordan’s dunk on Brandon Knight, and why it was not really good defense.
On that last bit, Frye pretty much tossed aside the column by Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski that said Knight did the right thing — although Woj’s point about a backward culture still stands. Here’s a breakdown on that play by Mike Prada of SB Nation, but Frye also goes in depth about how to stop Jordan from dunking.
Kevin Zimmerman: You talk to Iggy at all?
Channing Frye: I talk to him here and there. We talk on Twitter and all. His schedule is super different that mine. I watch him a lot. I think he’s playing great.
KZ: What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen since, I guess, college with him? Is there a point in his career where he just …
CF: Just how good he is consistently. I think he’s the new version, kind of a scoring version of Andrei Kirilenko. I think a lot of people talk a lot about, just, how much he’s getting paid. All of the teams he’s been on win. He’s playing winning basketball. You know, he’s never asked for somebody to throw him the rock. He’s always playing D. He’s always trying to make the big shots. He’s always trying to be in the gym first, he’s a great teammate. Those are the things that I think are just priceless, especially for that team.
Denver’s generally a young team, you know, Andre Miller and? Maybe Gallinari … what, Gallanari’s been around maybe four years? He’s been here a while. I think he’s that veteran leader they need, yet he’s 28, 29, he’s younger than me. I like their chances this year. I think they’re one of these sleeper teams.
KZ: Do you see them with, like, the Clippers?
CF: The Clippers. The funny thing about that; I look at them and they’re awesome and they’re spectacular. But you know at times what’s going to happen is they’re going to add Chauncey, they’re going to add G-Hill, so you got to get the same production from like a Matt Barnes. What’s going to happen when they have to go against a Tim Duncan when they have to execute. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Clippers are a great team, I think they’re stacked. You know what, they’re going to be on highlights every night.
But in playoff basketball, highlights aren’t going to get you (anything). You aren’t to get your highlight. (DeAndre Jordan is) going to get his head busted. It’s not the same thing. It’s not going to be like that. Can DeAndre Jordan score in the post, is Blake Griffin going to score in the post? Are they going to make Chris Paul shoot all the time? Those are just some things. But I love Jamal Crawford on that team, I love Grant Hill on that team. I feel like DeAndre Jordan stepped his game up, may have the best dunk I’ve ever seen, on a guard. I mean, what was Brandon Knight thinking?
I put the Clippers, Denver, Golden State and Houston kind of in that same realm; they play very fast. And of course I like how they play, but it takes a while for them to get used to how to win in the playoffs. It’s a little different. I think the last time we were in the playoffs, we went to the Western Conference Finals. We got the luck of the draw. We played three teams that we knew during the course of the year we could play faster than. We got hot against San Antonio.
KZ: I’m sure you’ve seen that dunk you’re talking about, many times. Some people were saying Brandon Knight was actually rotating but he was a little slow. Was it a little slow?
CF: Yeah. When that play comes, you have to just give up what’s behind you. If they throw that, they throw that. And at worst you’re giving up a contested three to maybe Matt Barnes or someone like that. So you know DeAndre Jordan is going to dunk it the way that play is set up. Brandon Knight has to stop him from even running.
Watch San Antonio. Anytime they run a play, if somebody goes like towards the rim, the other person just grabs them and stops them. When we play the Clippers the last two years, we really try to cut back on (them) running toward the rim. Blake does that play with Chris Paul where he gives that one-two. Sometimes it’s going to happen sometimes.
So you’ve got to stop them before they can get that one-two. One guy (that I know), maybe two, they can catch the ball, and put it on the ground and go to the rim. It’s David West, who is not very fast, and Amare – no, three – David Lee is really good at that. Catches, takes that ball … rarely a guy catch, see you, and make a move, avoid the contact. You never see that play. Usually they’re going to jump really high or do something crazy. But it’s (about stopping a) linear (path to the basket).