The Loss Of Channing Frye
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It was already tough enough for the Phoenix Suns when they lost Steve Nash and Grant Hill to free agency, considering what those two meant to the team and community, both on and off the court.
But bad news hit a sad level Thursday when the Suns organization got word their starting power forward Channing Frye would be lost for the season due to dilated cardiomyopathy--aka an enlarged heart--that was diagnosed during the team's regular preseason physical. It's especially saddening to hear because, by all reports, Frye is such a good guy.
You just never hear a bad word about this man with high character … and now he has to deal with this.
It is good to know, however, that Frye is still in good spirits, as we hear via Twitter: "Thanks everyone for your support. I will be ok. It will pass and ill be back we have the best staff in the NBA helping me out."
Frye also told AZCentral.com that he is going to take the year off to make sure he does not further damage his heart and will not even think about a comeback until his heart has regenerated.
The team will most definitely miss his contributions on the court. I would not be surprised if the Suns, who were a .500 team last season, dropped below the 30-win mark in 2012-13, due to the departures of Nash and Hill, along with the loss of Frye.
After all, you could make the case that the Suns' two leaders are Frye and Jared Dudley, who have been with the Phoenix squad longer than anyone--three and four seasons, respectively.
Though the team has added big men Luis Scola, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal to play alongside Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris, it will be impossible for any of those five to provide the big-man stretch spacing that came from Frye, whose propensity to knock down 3s is best illustrated with his career 39 percent three-point shooting mark.
Frye's contribution also showed with his +2.6 Regularized Adjusted Plus Minus score that was the sixth best among starting power forwards last season. And that high standing was best reflected in the performance of Phoenix' starting 5--Nash, Hill, Jared Dudley, Frye and Marcin Gortat--that posted the second best Adjusted Plus-Minus score of any NBA quintet in 2011-12.
Those aforementioned Frye teammate numbers are much tougher to duplicate than his box-score averages--10.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks in 26.1 points per game with a 14.9 Player Efficiency Rating--because big men that post +2.6 RAPMs don't come along very often.