Hometown: Lakewood, Calif.
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Experience: 5 years
Draft: 2004, sixth overall by Atlanta
2011-12 Salary: $6,000,000
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2011-12 Season Outlook: Josh Childress’ 2010-11 season did not go as planned. First he fractured his index finger in preseason, causing him to play the first two months of the season with a splint. Right when the injury started to heal, the Suns traded for Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus from Orlando, and Childress was the fifth wing in a four wing rotation. Along the way he suffered from mental issues that led him to shoot 49.2 percent from the free-throw line and 1-for-16 from beyond the arc, well below his career averages.
Along with a summer to clear his head and work on his mental game, Childress feels much more comfortable in the Suns’ system entering 2011-12. Just as importantly, the Suns’ coaching staff understands Childress’ game better and feels confident it can use him more effectively than last season. Childress figures to be the backup small forward, an important role since the Suns may want to limit Grant Hill’s minutes during the condensed season.
After his disappointing 2010-11 campaign, Childress needs to show the Suns he is worth the full midlevel that he earned last summer. If he fails to produce once again, he could be a top amnesty candidate as the Suns attempt to create more financial flexibility for next offseason. But there’s a reason the Suns paid Childress, and it was to provide a highly efficient slashing threat who can be a menace in the passing lanes and on the offensive glass. If he can provide that this season, J-Chill may once again be thought of as the future at small forward rather than a likely amnesty cut. – Michael Schwartz
Biography: After earning McDonald’s High School All-American honors at Mayfair High School in Lakewood, Calif., Joshua Malik Childress went north to play college ball at Stanford. In his three seasons with the Cardinal, Childress developed and earned first-team All-American honors in 2004. In that junior season, Childress was also named to the All-Pac-10 Conference first team, and won the awards for conference player of the year and conference tournament MVP.
Childress went higher in the 2004 Draft than any Stanford alumnus in history when the Atlanta Hawks picked him sixth overall. Averaging 10.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game his rookie season, Childress made the NBA All-Rookie second team.
After four seasons with the Hawks, Childress decided to make a move to Europe, joining Euroleague club Olympiacos in Greece. Childress became the highest-profile player in NBA history to leave the league to play abroad. Olympiacos’ contract offer was much more lucrative than the Hawks’ offer and a deal in Europe carried many incentives for Childress. While in Greece, Childress earned All-Euroleague second team honors and his team won the 2010 Greek Cup. After averaging 12.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in two seasons with Olympiacos, Childress decided to return to the NBA. The Phoenix Suns quietly acquired Childress from the Hawks for a future second-round draft pick and trade exception, and signed him to a five-year contract worth around $33 million.
Links to ValleyoftheSuns coverage of Childress: