Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) What Channing Frye is providing off the bench for the Cavs so far this season is pretty impressive.
In ten games — Frye missed a couple following the death of his mother — the 6-11 PF/C is averaging 11 points and 3.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game. Now, while those numbers by themselves may not seem overly impressive for a backup big man, it’s how Frye is getting his points — and the efficiency with which he’s getting them — that really stands out.
Frye is shooting 47% from three-point range — on 56.7% True Shooting overall — hitting nearly three of the six attempts he’s averaging in relatively few minutes. He spots a 17.9 PER, comfortably above the NBA average. He is fourth on the team in scoring (due, in part, to J.R. Smith’s missed time due to injury) behind Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love. Most importantly, he’s been getting crucial minutes in the fourth quarter, as head coach Tyronn Lue has favored playing Frye over Tristan Thompson next to Love in the front court.
2.) While Frye isn’t nearly the defender or rebounder that Thompson is, when he and Love can hold their own on that end of the court, it gives the Cavs a unit that can score the ball in bunches and bunches.
So far, at least, Frye and Love have been doing okay. Frye’s rebounding is down and his Rebounding Percentage of nine is close to a career-low, but he’s averaging nearly a block a game and his Block Percentage of 3.8% is nearly double his career average. While Frye lacks the quickness to be a consistently good defender, it’s not like he’s a soft player. He competes when he’s out there and plays with an edge that is normally overlooked because of his ready smile when he’s off the court (or raining threes).
The three lineups in which Frye typically appears are outpacing the opposition by a total of 50.4, 28.3, and 33 points respectively. So, to steal a line from former Cav Sasha Pavlovic, this might actually be a case (which is was not in Pavlovic’s) of their offense being their best defense. In fact, the lineup that Lue has been flashing in recent fourth quarters — Frye teamed with Love, James, Irving and either Smith or Iman Shumpert — is outpacing this season’s version of Golden State’s “Death Lineup.” When the Warriors move Draymond Green to center and play him with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, they are outscoring opponents by 26.9 points, compared t0 33 points (in far fewer minutes, thus far) by the Cavs’ Murderer’s Row.
3.) Now’s the part of the argument when we look up at the calendar and see that the NBA season is only a month old. So, the question of whether or not Frye can keep up his hot shooting from deep, is a valid one.
For his career, Frye is a 38.8% three-point shooter, and is currently shooting twice his career average of shots from long distance. Frye did have one season when he came close to the number of three pointers he’s shooting this season, though. In Frye’s breakout 2010-11 season with the Phoenix Suns, he averaged 5.7 three-point attempts per game. He hit a very respectable 39% of them. Since implementing the three in his shooting repertoire, Frye has consistently sniffed 40% and even topped it once, in 2009-10 with the Suns.
Until last season, though, Frye had never played with players who suck in defenders the way James, Irving and Love do. Even if his numbers normalize slightly, the former Arizona Wildcat has shown the capability for the Cavs Faithful to feel confident that his career-best year from beyond the arc could very well continue.
4.) Finally, I’d just like to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Cavs: The Blog.
Have a great one and, as always… Go Cavs!