The Phoenix Suns lost one integral member of their roster from last season when Channing Frye signed a four-year deal with the Orlando Magic.
To help fill the void created by Frye’s absence, the team signed Anthony Tolliver, a six-year veteran who has played for six different NBA teams.
Once Frye agreed to terms with Orlando, Tolliver targeted Phoenix as a potential landing spot.
“I texted my agent immediately,” Tolliver said during an introductory press conference Monday. “I follow everything because I know how any little transaction can effect me personally in free agency. I know we had talked with the Suns last year and the year before I believe about the possibility of coming here.
“It wasn’t quite as attractive with Channing here because I knew he did what I did as well, pick-and-pop type of guy. It was still even intriguing then, but when he left I was like ‘now it’s really intriguing having that vacancy.'”
Tolliver actually shot a higher percentage than Frye from three-point range last year, knocking down 41 percent compared to Frye’s 37 percent. It does need to be noted that Frye took about 200 more shots from behind the arc. Both players took a high volume of their attempts from the right wing as you can see from these two shot charts done by nyloncalculus.com
Tolliver’s 2013-2014 Shot Chart:
Frye’s 2013-2014 Shot Chart:
The big question is if Tolliver can shoot with the same type of consistency Frye has over the years. The 6-foot-8 forward has eclipsed the 40 percent mark from three-point range twice in his career, but hit just 24 percent in 2011-12 and 34 percent in 2012-13.
Tolliver is confident in his ability to shoot from deep because he’s been working on this aspect of his game for a long time.
“It’s something going back to high school and college I knew I wasn’t going to be a seven-foot type of player,” said Tolliver on the importance of developing a long-range jumper. “I also knew that the way the NBA was going, no matter how tall I was, it would be a valuable thing to have to be able to shoot.
“In college, they stuck me down on the block because I was the biggest guy on our team. In the offseasons, that wasn’t what I worked on; I worked on shooting and being able to stretch the floor. My master plan to make it to the NBA was based on me being able to shoot.”
According to basketball-reference.com, Tolliver spent 74 percent of his minutes at the small forward position with the Charlotte Bobcats last season. Don’t expect to see that replicated this upcoming year. With a glut of potential small forwards in P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris, Gerald Green and T.J. Warren, Tolliver will go back playing mainly the four as he did with the Golden State Warriors in 2009-10 and in his first year with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010-11.