Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Channing Frye’

knicks

It’s been two seasons since I’ve seen the New York Knicks up close and personal. I missed their trip through Portland last season due to the flu, but having covered the Knicks for three seasons prior I was used to being sick.

The Knicks now are nothing like the Knicks then.

Slowly but surely the organization is starting to turn things around. Okay, it’s not the glory days of Frazier, Ewing or Houston. The wins aren’t there. But it sure beats the charade New York endured during the Isiah Thomas era – or error as those in the know prefer to call it.

Here’s some quick hits on the Knicks then – as I saw them for three seasons, versus the Knicks now:

Then: The Garden Gestapo tried to muzzle Larry Brown from speaking openly to the press. When Thomas took over on the sidelines, he opted for a “just tell them what they need to know” approach with the media. And even that was hard for him to do

Now: Head coach Mike D’Antoni can speak his mind and freely interact with the media….as it should be.

Then: David Lee could barely get a start.

Now: Lee is the man.

Then: Beat writers typically had their conversations with players transcribed by media relations staff members into handheld devices, where they were then sent on to upper management.

Now: All beat writers have to worry about looking over their shoulder at are the constant layoffs in the newspaper biz.

Then: Larry Brown heralded Eddy Curry as the Knicks next big man. To Thomas, Curry was an All-Star in the making.

Now: Basketball is the furthest thing from Curry’s mind.

Then: The Knicks brawled against the Denver Nuggets.

Now: They are fighting for the eight spot back East….21 wins and all.

Then: Channing Frye was part of the Knicks foundation.

Now: He can’t get off the Blazers bench.

Then: Stephon Marbury was a locker room cancer.

Now: The Knicks are close to being cured with Marbury out of the picture.

Then: Marbury said he was the best point guard in the league.

Now: He’s teamless.

Then: Nate Robinson was an out of control point guard.

Now: Robinson makes the Knicks go.

Then: Thomas hoped veterans like Steve Francis, Jalen Rose and Kelvin Cato would help lead the Knicks.

Now: D’Antoni has all the faith in the world with a youngster like Wilson Chandler.

Then: Jerome James was known as “Big Snacks”.

Now: Well, some things just don’t change.

pic via: nymag

Read Full Post »

The Writing On The Wall

clepor_080130_4It’s not a story I looked forward to writing. But the conversation had to take place: Channing Frye’s future in Portland.

For those of you who have taken the time to read this blog over the past six-seven months, you know my take on Frye. After arriving in New York around the same time and both beginning our careers with the Knicks – Channing play, me writing – we landed in Portland the same summer.

It just happens that our paths have intersected more than once.

For me, he’s one of the great guys in this league. Always a good quote. Don’t feel bad about calling him goofy either. He calls himself goofy.

I’ve pretty much come to this conclusion though: if Frye were a cliché, he’d be “good guys finish last.”

It was that way in New York. It appears it will be that way in Portland – hence me digging into the idea of his future with the Blazers, courtesy of HOOPSWORLD.

Right before the Blazers embarked on their recent road trip back to Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Charlotte, I grabbed some time with Channing at the Rose Garden. Wanted to get his thoughts on his current predicament. Know it’s not an easy time for him. Also know his play has reverted back to when he first arrived in Portland.

Many will agree. When Frye is on the court, you almost forget he is.

Let me say this – the guy isn’t jaded. He’s not complaining. He’s not sulking.

If anything, Frye has read the writing on the wall and doesn’t like what it says.

pic via: nba.com

Read Full Post »

Jazz Trail Blazers BasketballMartell Webster will be back before too long, and with him returns a number of questions. But one trumps the rest:

Who gets the minutes at small forward?

I got into this a little bit today at HOOPSWORLD touching on the changes Portland will go through once Martell is ready to play – which doesn’t seem too far away from the sound of it. Basically there are four factors involving how the Blazers will adjust to Webster’s return….

The Nicolas Batum Factor: This kid can play and we’ve all seen how his game has changed from summer league to now during the regular season. I’ll be the first to admit, Batum didn’t show me much in Las Vegas. But these last sixteen games (and counting), Batum is easily the “feel good story” of the Blazers season thus far and I am constantly in awe at what he can do on both ends of the floor. I’ll spare you the highlight reel discussion about his ability to get into the paint, play defense, run the floor, shoot the three and simply scrap for a loose ball. It doesn’t matter how Nate McMillan does it. He just has to find time for this kid to play. Will that mean continuing to start?  

The Channing Frye Factor: No one is going to confuse Channing with having a power game in the paint. Even at 6-11, that’s not his style. Never has been. Hitting a fifteen foot jumper each time out is. He plays the pick-and-pop perfectly and it’s no wonder assistant coach Monty Williams told me Frye is one of the best shooting big men in the game today. Channing’s extending that range to include the deep three and it came to life against Miami on Wednesday (2-3). Yes, Frye’s rebounding and pure aggressiveness needs to improve, but it’s hard to complain when he’s hitting that outside shot. He’ll simply have to learn to produce the same (or more) with less time.

The Travis Outlaw Factor: Outlaw isn’t a starter and that’s not a bad thing. He is at home in the second unit, and while the small forward spot has his name written all over it, watching him play the four should be an adventure. That appears McMillan’s plan. Listed at 6-9 and a generous 207 lbs., Travis isn’t going to muscle anyone around and his defense is suspect. But with his length and energy, he’ll give guys fits. We saw it last year in some cases – against Denver’s Kenyon Martin comes to mind – and we will see how revisiting Travis at power forward works out. The minutes will be there.

The Nate McMillan Factor: Nate’s going to play the match-up game in juggling Webster, Batum, Outlaw and Frye. Without naming names, he’s already said as much. He’s done that so far this year with rotating Batum and Outlaw out for each other – although Travis has received more run than Nicolas. Just like anything else this season though – adjusting to life without Martell and even Greg Oden for six games for example – McMillan’s planning to work with what he has. Right now, he has a whole lot of guys he could plug in at various spots at any given time and that will only increase once Webster gets back. Not a bad problem for any coach to have.

pic via: daylife

Read Full Post »

travisoutlaw3Brandon Roy doesn’t have many off nights, but on Wednesday night against the Miami Heat there was no need for him to be on. The bench put the game on their broad shoulders.

Roy went 2 for 11 and finished with 8 points as the Blazers won easily. Yet when Portland’s second unit – aptly dubbed the “white unit” – continues their impressive play on the season, the Blazers become more than the “Brandon Roy Saves The Day Show.”

They become one of the best benches in the league. Perhaps even thee best.

According to the stat kings over at 82.games.com, the Blazers boast one of the best scoring second-strings in the NBA. They are pitching in a combined 37.5 points per game, third best in that category behind the Minnesota Timberwolves (39.2 ppg) and the Los Angeles Lakers (38.5 ppg). But scoring isn’t everything. Portland’s bench also ranks among the top in rebounds (third, 17.3 rpg), assists (fourth, 8.4 apg), (third, 3.7) and blocks (fifth, 2.3 bpg).

Another win only adds to those numbers, with a combined 49 points, 24 rebounds, 19 assists, 2 steals, and 5 blocks from the reserves in the victory. Not bad for one night of work, huh? When Channing Frye (17 points) shows off his range, Travis Outlaw (15 points) shows last year was no fluke, Sergio Rodriguez (11 assists) shares the ball, Joel Przybilla (9 rebounds) bangs the boards and Rudy Fernandez – well, he’s Rudy Fernandez (13 points) for crying out loud – it’s no wonder the “white unit” runs red hot against the rest of the league.

Enjoy the night off Brandon. 

Chris Paul and the rest of the New Orleans Hornets await you after some turkey, stuffing and giving thanks.

————————–

Speaking of bench guys, I grabbed time with Francisco Garcia of the Kings when Sacramento was in town on Monday and basically he’s dying to get out on the court for the first time this season. He’s shooting for this weekend. In keeping with the job demands of covering the entire league, here’s the skinny on Garcia…. 

pic via: o-live

 

Read Full Post »

brandon1But try to understand, try to understand

Try, try, try to understand

He’s a magic man, mama

He’s a magic man….

 

I highly doubt Brandon Roy has “Heart” shuffling on his I-Pod playlist, but after Portland grabbed their first road win of the season against the Orlando Magic, Roy is easily the “Magic Man”. After waving his wand against Houston and Minnesota at home, Roy played his most complete game of the season on Monday night with 27 points – a new season high. Presto.

Hopefully the back-spasms he suffered at the end of the game will be gone come Wednesday in Miami.

As for Monday night, Portland came out aggressive and finished strong. How many times can we say that this season?

While you ponder that one, let’s go inside and outside the box score for the rest of the goods….

– Steve Blake finished with 20 points and went 2-3 from outside the arc. Blake needed this one, perhaps even more than Portland needed a road victory. And it’s not that he scored from all spots on the floor, yet it’s how many of those points came from the charity stripe where Blake went 10-11. That stat line screams one thing – aggressiveness.

Travis Outlaw continued to show his worth by moving to the second unit three games ago. He had 20 points and had it going from outside early and often (3-5). You knew this was coming. Once he found a comfort zone back where he belonged it was only a matter of time before the real Outlaw re-appeared. And that’s a boost about his all-around game, just not his scoring touch.  Thanks to Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez, Portland outscored Orlando’s bench 20-2 to open the game. The Blazers finished with 40 points off the pine.

– I’m in no way advising Jerryd Bayless’ agent Jeff Schwartz to issue an distasteful edict against Nate McMillan and demand a trade, but it’s certainly helped Sergio Rodriguez’s minutes. After averaging 9.2 minutes per game the first five games of the season, Sergio has logged roughly 12 and 16 minutes respectively the past two games since making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Here’s the thing though – for every one of Sergio’s sweet jump-step buckets down the lane, there’s a pass into the third row that tends to void his in-game success. This just in: consistency counts. His play in the fourth quarter proved that.

– Portland only had 5 turnovers  (2 in the first half) versus the Magic’s 14….9 steals versus Orland’s 3….scored a season-high 36 points in the first quarter….and shot an impressive 52.9 % from three-point land for the game.  James Jones is smiling somewhere.

– You knew Dwight Howard was going to get his. Same goes for Hedo Turkoglu. But the fact that Portland played strapping defense – and created fouls – against Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus and Keith Bogans says volumes about Roy and Outlaw – Rudy and Nicolas Batum grasping Nate McMillan’s bigger picture: a defensive mindset.

– Play of the Game: Rudy’s three-pointer at the end of the first quarter was pretty smooth. So was Roy’s bobbled-shot against Boguns down the lane in the fourth quarter. But this one goes to Channing Frye for going toe-to-toe against Turkoglu with seconds remaining before the half. After a hard foul on Howard in the paint, Hedo shoved Roy in the back and Frye wasn’t a having it. Words were exchanged. More shoving commenced. Double-technical fouls were issued. But score one for Frye and Portland for finally muscling-up. It’s about time.

pic via: usatoday

Read Full Post »

nbaLaMarcus Aldridge walked towards the court at the Rose Garden and past Channing Frye late last season and basically blew-up Frye’s spot.

“Don’t believe this guy. He doesn’t know what he is talking about.”

It was a good couple hours before the game. Channing leaned against a wall just down from the Blazers locker room drenched from a pregame workout. Huffing, he explained how he wanted to return to Portland after a then approaching summer that could have easily seen Frye shipped out of town.

It never happened.

Now Frye hopes he can still call Portland home after this season, despite not being able to agree with the Blazers on a contract extension. I broached the topic with both Frye and Kevin Pritchard last week – a story you can read in full over at HOOPSWORLD today….

Where does Frye fit in Portland’s future?

I will spare you guys the intricacies of Channing’s game and his likeability off the floor. Those who religiously read his blog or tune in for his radio show on 1080AM The Fan know what Frye is all about. He’s about being real.

It’s good to see.

It didn’t start that way. We were familiar with each other from our days in New York. It was rough for Channing. The Knicks had no clue had to use the guy. The summer he was traded to the Blazers, I returned home to Portland after paying an ungodly amount of rent in Manhattan for three years. Truth be told though, he wanted nothing to do with me when I rolled out to Portland’s practice facility one offseason morning two summers ago. 

To Channing, I was “one of those” writers from New York.

“Yeah, I remember you,” he said avoiding making any eye contact.

Oh yeah, I remember thinking. This is going to go reeeaaal nice.

Despite the chilly reception, we had a good talk. Anyone who knows Frye knows this: the guy loves to talk. He talked about New York. He talked about growing. He talked about starting fresh. He talked about loving Portland.

He still talks about loving Portland.

He knows what is he talking about.

pic via: nba.com

Read Full Post »