Channing Frye diversifies, Alex Len keeps it simple

PHOENIX – Suns forward Channing Frye didn’t have a summer to work on his game. He was cleared to play after last year’s heart condition scare just before the season began. Yet, he’s taking a few more risks now, trying new things on the fly and trying to do more than acting as a one-dimensional three-point gunner.

“What do I got to lose?” Frye said Sunday after scoring 30 points and going 12-for-16 from the floor in the Suns’ 117-103 win over the Nuggets. “They’re running at me like crazy. It’s not like I’m crossing anybody over, anything too fancy. For me it’s really just progressing, getting better and making sure when I dribble I keep my head up and look for open guys.

“This is kind of like ‘screw it’ type stuff.”

Frye, who was three points off his career high and likely would have challenged it had the Suns bench not closed the fourth quarter, admitted he’s watched a lot of film in the last few days to work out of a shooting slump. It wasn’t all on him since Jeff Hornacek’s team had been bothered by stale ball movement that was much better against Denver – the Suns had 23 assists to 10 turnovers in the win. Still, Frye wanted to implement one- and two-dribble moves once teams run him off the foul line.

He’s even gotten in tune with the dunk. When Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson found himself switched onto Frye early in the third quarter on Sunday, Frye took several dribbles from the top of the key and ended up getting all the way to the hoop for a slam. It was telling of Denver’s bad help defense, but also that Frye taking those risks.

“Today, I kind of did my homework on what they wanted to do and I should do that for every game,” Frye said. “Really just kind of apply what I’m working on. I work on a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and kind of be a jack of all trades like a cornucopia of goodness.

“When I am doing pretty good and trying to stay out of foul trouble, just trying to get Goran open makes my job a little bit easier,” Frye added, as Dragic interjected a “Thank you, Channing,” from across the room.

Len finally solidifies his role

Alex_Len2Markieff Morris, who added 16 points and six rebounds off the bench, said that rookie center Alex Len’s work ethic is showing just how much he wants to be out on the court.

“Last game he played a couple minutes and was upset about it,” Morris said. “You just got to keep talking to him. He’s young and he’s ready to play now.”

Len scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds while playing with a bench unit including Ish Smith, Leandro Barbosa and the Morris twins. Four of the Len boards were offensive, and the box score doesn’t show the others he batted out to his teammates.

The rookie made it clear that he’s motivated by simply earning playing time.

“When you’re winning, you feel like you’re part of the team rather than when you sit on the sideline and just watch the game,” Len said.

While Frye was working on adding to his game, the Suns may have gotten the best performance out of rookie Len by making him simplify his own. The coaches and his teammates tell him to “try to do easy things,” Len said.

“Alex, once he gets things going, can play the four,” Frye said. “I think you (now) kind of see simple Alex. We just ask him to rebound, roll to the front of the rim, block some shots, play defense. “

It could be a huge gain for a bench unit that on Sunday looked like it could have finally solidified a full rotation.

  • BCrayZ

    Frye will be an all star before his career is over.

    This 30-point performance was also accompanied by his 3 blocks in the game.

    He has very good chemistry with Gogi. Also, he has very good chemistry with our Brazilian Blur. WELCOME HOME!!!! Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • VeE

    GOOD JOB Frye!
    i think the suns should try to trade for T. Young -F 76ers , what you think?
    if i did the trade, 2 1st round picks and e. okafor contract
    … the 2x 1st round picks be PACERS and Wizards pick, i think it would be good for 76ers and the suns keep all there young players , Miles Plumlee, A. Goodwin and A. Len

  • EBJM

    Alex Len will become an All-Star before Frye!

  • EBJM

    T. Young is just as short as Paul Millsap. Suns do not need to get smaller. Despite Frye’s lack of rebounding he is starting to use his length to protect the rim. Suns can go 7′-1″, 6′-11″ & 6′-11″ across the frontline now that Len is back. I’d still rather see what the 6′-10″ Okafor has left and maybe he would re-sign for cheap?

    Suns have played “small-ball” Forever and have zero championships to show for it.

  • jeremy

    trade for T-young. not interested, and I hope the Suns are not as well. Just because they have great assets does not mean they should go out and start to a bunch dumb moves.
    Id rather see them draft 4 players and then trade someone, or use some of those picks to move up in draft if they so desire. very little in the league Id care to the Suns go ape sh!t over to get right now.

  • sunsn7

    Alex Len makes opposing offenses bend!

    We have a two headed monster at center with Plumlee alongside our enforcer. Len should watch Tucker’s defensive approach

  • BCrayZ

    Alex is impressive & should start in place of Miles, when he is ready for starter’s minutes.

    Frye must play with Gogi & our Brazilian Blur. If you’re ready to move Chinga (Frye) to the bench, then Gogi moves there also. Guess Sunsn 7 is ready for our team to lose.

    They (Frye, LB, Gogi) have winning chemistry together & are the 3 best players on this team. This trio is one of the best offensively in the NBA & are perfectly complimented by the defense of PJ & Alex. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Dave:f32

    Rajon Rondo and Thaddeus Young make the Suns ‘Ship Contenders???

    Joakim Noah is more of a true PF


    Your right Frye did diversify. He played great on offense, but played equally horrible on defense. It is at the point where he makes no effort when a player drives to the hoop. I sat court side last night and could not believe he never received a comment from the coaches. He made no attempt to play D, after his third foul. Not the type of player I want starting. Maybe coming off the bench as an offensive spark, but that is it.

  • BCrayZ

    “After his 3rd foul…”

    Frye does what he is told.

    Jeff knows best. Suns needed Frye to stay in the game. Jeff must have told him not to pick up foul #4. Jeff did not want to have to sit his game’s star player down. Look at how well he has defended Blake & Timmy & LMA & Love. Fact is that before Jeff asked him to back off, Frye had already blocked 3 shots & still ended up leading the team in blocks for this important game. Give it a rest. Have you even read that link? Have been court side myself for many a game. Big deal. Frye would be even better if teamed with Louis, who could take on some of those fouls he gets. Make it so Ryan.

    MUST reunite that killer bench unit. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Dave:f32

    Thats what drives me the most batsh!t with Frye’s game:

    that sometimes he doesnt even try to play defense, and it shows! And the strong offensive stands are followed up with a meager contribution the next game. He is inconsistent all-around in his game! Lute would have benched him a long time ago…

  • Dave:f32

    And i really dont care if he can hit 3s, bcuz more often than not he goes thru shooting slumps that offset his advantages.

    Sometimes, like in the recent road trip, he passes on 3s in the clutch.

    This coaching staff deals with it bcuz they are working with the team they have, and Frye is a highly paid player. But still

  • Cotton’s Ghost

    I hate to engage such a delusional thought but, Dragic, Frye, Barbosa the three best players on the team? Lol one of those guys is on a 10 day contract. Another is a streaky shooter.

    Please give the “killer bench unit” thing a rest!

  • Dave:f32

    LB will be signed for rest of season, if not a 2-3 year deal per Paul Coro recent report

  • Dave:f32

    Must reunite the Suns killer bench unit!!! We must!

  • azbballfan

    I am happy Len is starting to play well, we have not had two young bigmen with potential at the center spot since….I don’t even know

    4 offensive boards in 16 minutes is impressive

  • VeE

    you think the suns well re-sign Frye after he picks up his players option

  • Scott

    I’m impressed that the Suns have a player who will use “cornucopia” in his everyday conversation. :)

  • BCrayZ

    Good one Scott.

    Suns have had Nash & Hill.

    Frye has, through personal experience (overcoming a life & death heart issue & near blindness to his baby girl) & intelligence, as exemplified by his vocabulary & more, been asserting himself as a leader & spokesman for Jeff & the team. Very excited to see him back up his words with actions, this last game. If he continues to do drive by shootings & a dunk (here & there), with the addition of Barbosa’s drives to the Suns game, Jeff should see his vision & mandate played out for the betterment of the team. When other teams stop attacking the 3-point line because of these drives, opportunities will re-emerge from deep. Even with the current focus to stop the Suns at the 3-point line, he found 7 very good looks from long range (knocking down 5 of them) in our last game. Come tomorrow night, our Suns new offense will get its penultimate test. Will we be able to score with efficiency vs. the best? Pacers did us a favor in last night’s game. They beat the Dubs. Will we be able to do any better without Eric? Here is what one of the game’s best coaches said, after last night’s game: “”It was like the movie ‘Rocky II.’ I’m not sure which guy was going to fall first. Both teams were completely exhausted,” Vogel said. Suns may just catch the Pacers at the right time. They are certainly at the top of their game when they play at home. That is not necessarily the case when they are on the road. Time to tire them out some more. Give the starting job for now to LB, Jeff. Gogi & our Blur can start the game off in the right foot & so can Frye. With a fast start, we have hope to get them on their heels for the rest of the game. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!